Improving pressure ulcer risk identification: a pilot project by ambulance staff
Sunday, February 2, 2020
A quality improvement initiative was designed to identify patients at risk of compromised tissue viability before they were admitted to hospital. Paramedics were educated to better identify patients with pressure ulcers or pressure damage, or those at risk of compromised tissue viability, and these patients were fitted with a pressure ulcer alert bracelet so that emergency department staff could identify them.
The aims of the current initiative were to educate paramedics to better identify patients with pressure ulcers or those at risk of compromised tissue viability to emergency department staff, and fit them with a pressure ulcer alert bracelet to highlight them to emergency department staff so they would receive prompt intervention.
A plan, do, study, act improvement methodology was used, and data from a 3-month period were retrospectively analysed. Patients identified as being at risk of compromised tissue viability were flagged as requiring assessment via a pressure ulcer risk assessment tool to enable prevention.
Paramedics identified 130 at-risk patients (aged 23–100 years), and data from 127 patients were analysed. Most at-risk patients fitted with pressure ulcer alert bracelets were aged 70 years or over, and there was an even female/male division. More than half (53%) of patients were found to have a pressure ulcer and alerted to emergency department staff. More than one in four (27%) patients who were identified as being at risk of pressure ulcers lived in nursing or residential homes, and 43% lived alone or in warden-controlled accommodation.
Paramedics effectively identified potential risk factors for pressure ulcer development, indicating a need for immediate intervention. This study gives insight into how pressure ulcer risk assessment using an alert bracelet may be used in paramedic practice in emergency department handovers. Success depends on hospital staff acting upon paramedic recommendation.
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