Pressure ulcer prevention, patient positioning and protective equipment
Pressure ulcer (PU) prevention is a high priority for health professionals in all settings. While PU incidence is expected to rise given the ageing population in the UK and Europe, PUs can occur in people of any age. It is therefore imperative that all practitioners know about the causes and consequences of PUs and be aware of up-to-date guidance on the prevention and management in patients who have developed a PU or who are at risk of developing a PU. Health professionals should also be aware of preventive equipment highlighted in national and local guidance, prevention strategies and protocols. This article discusses these issues and the Devon (Cardinal Health) prevention and repositioning product range.
Pressure ulcer (PU) prevention is a high priority for all health professionals. While this is pertinent given the ageing population and demographic changes in the UK and Europe (Office for National Statistics, 2018; Eurostat, 2020), PUs can develop in individuals of any age with one or more aetiological variables (Table 1). An assessment tool that considers such variables can be used to ascertain whether a person is at risk (Waterlow, 2005).
Further to the costs and resource implications and the impact that PUs have on patients' quality of life, morbidity and mortality, national and international PU prevention initiatives have been launched. These include the Department of Health's Pressure Ulcer Productivity Calculator (NHS England, 2010); Stop the Pressure campaign (launched in 2012 by NHS England Midlands and East, now part of the National Wound Care Strategy Programme (2022)), and educational efforts by the Society of Tissue Viability, the European Wound Management Association and the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP), European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP) and Pan Pacific Pressure Injury Alliance (PPPIA) through their publications and websites.
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