Investigators find new ways to reduce turning schedule

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Nursing homes achieved 40% pressure ulcer reduction working with Medicare QIOs
Nursing homes achieved 40% pressure ulcer reduction working with Medicare QIOs

Nursing staff can turn residents less often if high-density foam mattresses and attentive documentation are being used for pressure ulcer prevention, research has found.

The study involved nearly 950 residents in U.S. and Canadian nursing homes. They were at moderate or high risk for pressure ulcers, based on the Braden Scale. All were given a high-density foam support surface and were turned at two-, three- or four-hour intervals.

After three weeks, the incidence of pressure ulcers was the same for all three groups, the researchers found. This was surprising because the moderate-risk group was “significantly different” than the high-risk group with regard to eating and brief changes, they wrote. They also found that the overall pressure ulcer incidence was low (2%). 

“Data suggest that the combination of support surface, repositioning, and documentation were successful in preventing ulcers in the moderate- and high-risk groups,” said the authors, who were based in Utah, Toronto and Texas. 

Consistent documentation also is important, as that might have reminded certified nursing assistants to elevate heels, work on toileting and continence, and engage in other preventive measures. The results also suggest that facilities should consider transitioning to high-density foam mattresses, the researchers stated. 

Findings were published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.