News: Pressure ulcer care

Relieving the pressure – first standards released covering health and social care

Healthcare Improvement Scotland has produced the first set of standards to cover both health and social care. The standards are for the prevention and management of pressure ulcers. 

In this podcast we visit Greenfield Park Care Home in Glasgow to find out how the standards will benefit the care they provide.

A real change in direction

Pressure ulcers are caused when an area of skin is placed under pressure and can occur in any person, particularly those with limited mobility, palliative and end of life care needs or who are acutely ill or malnourished. In Scotland alone, more than 8700 people have been treated for pressure ulcers over the last 5 years, with over 200 of the cases contributing to deaths. In the UK, pressure ulcers cost up to £30,000 per individual pressure ulcer and when community health care costs are added to hospital costs, pressure ulcers consume up to £2.1 billion of the NHS budget.

As Fiona Wardell, Team Lead for Standards at Healthcare Improvement Scotland explains, the standards mark an important change in how standards are produced: “The new standards mark a real change in direction. This is the first time that our standards will apply across both health and social care settings, reflecting the move towards integration of services. The standards put the person at the heart of the care they receive. So, no matter where they receive that care – at home, from a GP, in hospital or in a care home setting – they will receive the same high quality care and support.”

Speaking of the standards, Adam Coldwells, Chair of the Standards Project Group and Chief Officer of Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership, puts the importance of the standards into context: “Pressure ulcers are a major burden of sickness and result in reduced quality of life for people in our hospitals, care homes and communities. They are also associated with increased hospital stays, readmission rates, increased morbidity and mortality. I’m delighted to be involved in this project that recognises and addresses the problems in the wider community and not just hospital settings. Once implemented, I believe they will make a significant difference to the quality of care that people receive.”

Benchmarking against best practice

Robert Murray is the manager of Greenfield Park Care Home in Carntyne, Glasgow. The care home has 109 beds across 6 units and provides intermediate care and care for the frail and elderly, as well as for young people. He explains how the care home aims to benefit from the new standards: “Many of our residents can be very frail and nutritionally compromised, both of which raise their risk of pressure ulcers. We’re very excited about the new pressure ulcer standards. The standards place the onus on everyone to be aware of pressure ulcers. The standards will help us to ensure that we provide a high level of care and provide the best education for staff. We’re especially pleased about the sign-posting to best practice and the ability to benchmark against best practice.”

Making a real difference to patient care

Jill Patterson-Fogg contracted pressure ulcers through severe pelvic girdle pain at the age of 30. She was able to turn her experience to the benefit of others by becoming a member of the group that developed the standards.

Speaking of the experience, Jill said: “I really enjoyed the experience of being involved in developing the standards. I believe they will make a real difference to patient care. I met so many caring and committed people and felt that my input and experiences were valued.”

More information

To access our pressure ulcer standards, visit the tissue viability section of our website.

Published date: 30 September 2016