Program reduces pressure ulcers by 30%

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Techniques and processes promoted by the New Jersey Hospital Association's "Pressure Ulcer Collaborative" decreased pressure ulcer incidence by nearly one-third, officials announced last week.

The NJHA's Quality Institute first set up the special pressure ulcer panel a year ago. After six months of sharing preventive practices and best practices tips, a pilot group of facilities reported a 30% drop in pressure ulcer incidence.

"These preliminary results are promising and show that when communicating and working together, caregivers can learn from each other and improve patient outcomes," said Aline Homes, NJHA senior vice president of clinical affairs.

Leading experts and top national figures on resident safety and pressure ulcers discussed and recommended protocols. Pilot program participants focused on proper repositioning of residents who spend long periods in beds or wheelchairs; better observation; wound drainage; appropriate use of wet and dry dressings; and antibiotics to prevent infection when necessary.

About a third of the 125 nursing homes, hospitals and home care agencies in the collaborative took part in the pilot program. It tracked data from December 2005 through May 2006.
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