Providers share knowledge and pressure ulcers go down

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Preventive techniques and recommended practices can greatly reduce pressure ulcers, according to a study involving nursing homes, hospitals and home health agencies across New Jersey. The study revealed a 70% reduction in new pressure ulcers among 150 participating organizations.

Before research began in September 2005, 18% of patients at institutions in the collaborative developed some kind of pressure ulcer. That figure dropped to 5% by May 2007.
Common improvement techniques included: complete skin evaluation within eight hours of admission; evaluation of the risk of skin breakdown using the Braden scale; implementation of preventive strategies, such as proper positioning and use of assistive devices; and ongoing observation of the condition of patients' skin, particularly for those identified as being at high risk for developing a pressure ulcer.
Participants first met about two years ago to develop and share standardized preventive strategies. Among them, 48 reported achieving results of no new pressure ulcers for a period of three months or more. Additional data showed that the prevalence of existing pressure ulcers as patients moved from one care setting to another was reduced by 30%.
Participating organizations met regularly for education and information sharing sessions with nationally recognized experts. They then took proven best practices back to their facilities and continued the work with their partners in other healthcare settings.