Launch of Save Our Skin Initiative Reduces Complications and Costs Associated with Pressure Ulcers
MAYWOOD - While people who are bedridden or in a wheelchair are typically at the greatest risk for developing bedsores and related complications, Loyola University Health System has taken steps to reduce this threat for its patients due to the launch of a new multidisciplinary educational initiative.
"The goal of the Save Our Skin program is to protect patients, maintain a high quality of care and limit complications associated with bedsores or pressure ulcers," said Elmer Dulce, RN, nurse manager, division of orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation. "While pressure ulcers are an ongoing challenge for hospitals, our nurses have been extremely successful at implementing this program and limiting this problem at Loyola."
Pressure ulcers and related hospital-acquired infections are a serious threat to patient safety. Nearly one million Americans develop pressure ulcers each year and approximately 60,000 people die from related complications. A pressure ulcer is an area of skin that breaks down when patients stay in one position for too long without shifting their weight. The most common places for these ulcers are on the elbows, heels, hips, ankles, shoulders, back, and the back of the head.
In addition to helping patients, the Save Our Skin program also will bring cost savings to Loyola. Hospitals must pay for medical care that is required due to hospital-acquired infections, according to new federal guidelines.
"The Save Our Skin program provides nurses and patient care technicians with evidence-based practices to prevent or reduce complications and costs associated with pressure ulcers," said Mary Vondriska, RN, division of orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation.
These guidelines instruct health care providers to:
-Assess individual risk; -Place a Save Our Skin sign on the door of at-risk patients; -Initiate prevention measures; -Provide patient and family education; -Implement measures to minimize friction and reduce pressure; -Turn or tilt patients every two hours.