Preventing Pressure Ulcers and avoiding medical negligence claims!


Pressure Ulcer prevention is not complicated – the most important point is that the integrity of the skin remains intact by using a simple and effective regime to identify those at risk:

  • Identifying if a person is in a risk group by using the Waterlow pressure ulcer risk assessment tool. This provides an estimated risk of developing a pressure sore. However, it must be used in conjunction with clinical judgement, not in isolation
  • The skin should be inspected frequently for signs of early signs of pressure damage
  • Repositioning frequency should be at least once every 2 hours
  • The bed clothes should be wrinkle free
  • Seating issues
  • Nutrition – eating a well balanced diet and avoid dehydration
  • Skin Hygiene and Continence Management – ensuring that the skin is kept clean and dry
  • Patients who are at high risk of developing pressure ulcers, and those with existing pressure ulceration must be assessed for, and provided with appropriate pressure relieving devices in accordance with the individual Trust policy such as a special air mattress
  • NHS Trust guidance on selection of pressure reducing devices should be complied with.
  • Reassessment of the need for pressure reducing equipment should be undertaken as the patient’s condition changes.
  • The Tissue Viability Specialist Team should be involved where appropriate for advice on treatment
  • Application of dressings to the wound in accordance with the Tissue Viability team
  • The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) Clinical Guidance on pressure ulcer risk management and prevention, including the use of pressure-relieving devices, for the prevention of pressure ulcers in primary and secondary care within the NHS in England and Wales should be complied with
  • The European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel Pressure Ulcer Treatment Guidelines – grading of pressure ulcers

However, if these steps are not followed then patients could be at increased risk of suffering from painful pressure sores that are totally preventable. If this is the case then medical professionals could be looking at a potential medical neglect compensation claim.

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