Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Loyola Patients at Decreased Risk For Pressure Ulcers and Related Infections

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.


About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.