Jeri Lundgren

How can we prevent pressure injuries while keeping our residents isolated and safe from COVID-19?

Keeping your residents safe from COVID-19 exposure could have unintended side effects. Due to the isolation and lack of activities/movement, residents are at higher risk for not only pressure injuries, but also for weight loss and dehydration. 

First, ensure your residents have the appropriate pressure redistribution support surface for the bed and wheelchair. Second, consistent assignments for your caregivers can reduce exposure and assist the caregivers to develop a routine for their residents. The routine should ensure their residents have a wellness check every two hours.

During the wellness check the caregiver should offer fluids and snacks/food; provide toileting and incontinence care; turn and reposition the resident; offload the heels;  and ensure that call light, fluids and needed items are in reach.

During the night shift, try to disrupt the resident’s sleep as little as possible. Uninterrupted sleep is imperative for our immune system and for fighting infection. Providing an appropriate pressure redistribution mattress, an overnight incontinence product and heel elevation can minimize disruption of sleep by extending turning and incontinence management intervals. The residents should still receive visual checks every two hours. Utilize amber-tone lighting when you interact with the residents at night. Amber tones promote melatonin production to promote sleep versus white lights, which will stimulate serotonin, leading to waking your residents.   

Third, leverage the use of telehealth capabilities to provide your nurses virtual bedside access to wound care specialists to assist them with assessing and properly managing wounds. The wellness and telehealth checks also can provide consistent interaction and peace of mind for the residents in isolation.