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Preventing and managing device-related pressure ulcers in oncology

14 January 2021
Volume 30 · Issue 1


There is growing evidence that medical device-related pressure ulcers (MDRPUs) are an increasing healthcare concern in all aspects of care. It is especially important to develop an individualised care plan for people at the end of life to prevent pressure ulceration and to treat this if it occurs. Tissue viability nurses have a responsibility to review and assess new prophylactic devices and dressings, to ensure a high standard of care is provided. This article describes the use of a soft silicone dressing, Kliniderm foam silicone lite, in combination with best practice, to prevent MDRPUs in the oncology setting. Three case studies show that the dressing helped avoid the occurrence of ulceration on the ears and nose in patients receiving oxygen through a nasal cannula.

MDRPUs continue to present a considerable problem (Young, 2018). In the year up to September 2017, 50 402 incidents relating to the use of medical devices were reported to the National Reporting and Learning System, with harm being caused in 7230 of these cases. Any medical device can cause pressure injury in any patient (Byrant, 2012); however, the risk is particularly high for patients at the end of life (Chaplin, 2000; Sibbald et al, 2009) and elevated in patients with cancer (Hanonu and Karadag, 2016) or patients undergoing surgery or in intensive care with a history of cancer, cardiovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, pulmonary disease, neurological disease and/or diabetes mellitus (Hanonu and Karadag, 2016; Delmore and Ayello, 2017; Amirah et al, 2017).

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