Foundations of Professional Nursing
“Pressure ulcers are debilitating for the client and yet they are largely preventable”.
Word count from Introduction to Conclusion: 1520
This paper will discuss how pressure ulcers are essentially a serious problem within healthcare settings and how prevention is accountable in the development in pressure ulcers. The paper explores various ways to prevent pressure ulcers, reducing the risk factors, the responsibility of the duty of care of patients and the use of risk assessment tools. In order to prevent pressure ulcers, remove the risk. Evidence for this paper was gathered from seven peer reviewed journal articles from the online database CINAHL, a government website QLD Health and from various books.
Table of Contents
Pressure ulcers are serious problems for patients and healthcare settings and are responsible for high treatment costs and even death. With the increase in the aging population and fewer resources, the intensity of pressure ulcers in patients in healthcare settings will only increase without the appropriate prevention techniques to prevent these risks from occurring. This paper will look at the risk factors that contribute to pressure ulcers such as the intrinsic and extrinsic factors, and how to prevent these factors from occurring. The final part of this paper will then examine the use of risk assessment tools to discover what degree a person is at risk of developing a pressure ulcer and some examples of risk assessment tools that are available and best suited to the situation.
Pressure ulcers can be very distressing and become a real problem for patients and health care facilities. According to Nelson (2003) the inconvenience of a developed pressure ulcer in hospital includes inconvenience to patients with longer hospital stays, pain, discomfort, negative body image, reduced quality of life, fall outs in relationships with carers, loss of mobility, loss of independence, social isolation, financial strain and in some cases even death (Crowe & Brockbank 2009). This also affects healthcare facilities because it produces: less hospital beds (Nelson 2003), increased financial treatment (Nelson2003), fewer resources (Benbow 2009), increased workloads for doctors and nurses (Sayar et al 2008) and the high risk of client litigation (Nelson 2003). Mortality rates caused by pressure ulcers in Australia are low, but still occur as primary and secondary causes of death in 1,293 circumstances between the years of 1997 and 2000 (Nelson 2003). Crowe and Brockbank (2009, p. 92) state that there are estimated to be 95,695 new pressure ulcers diagnosed each year in Australian public hospitals, acquiring a cost of $285 million. To avoid the problems caused by these ulcers, a strategy has been adopted, which includes: the ability to identify a person at risk, use of a risk assessment tool to help identify and highlight problem areas, to rectification or prevention of the pressure ulcer from occurring (Ayello & Braden 2002).
To identify someone at risk of developing a pressure ulcer, there are specific factors that can make a person vulnerable. These factors are becoming focus points and aspirations in healthcare settings in today’s society (Belton 2010). Hampton (2008) discusses these specific main factors as pressure over time and tissue tolerance. Pressure over time is when the particular point of the body causes weight on a surface over a period of time (Benbow 2009a), particularly on the heels, sacrum, elbows, greater trochanter and ischial tuberosities (Crisp & Taylor 2009). This includes immobile, bedridden, wheelchair bound or sedated people (Beldon 2010). Sedation or decreased feeling perception contributed to the ulcer forming because people were unable to...
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