About Pressure Injuries
Pressure injuries are a major cause of preventable harm for patients using health care services including hospital, residential care and home care. Injuries usually develop over 'bony' parts of the body due to sustained pressure, or pressure combined with shear and/or friction.
Pressure injuries cause physical symptoms, feelings of anger and blame, and reduce quality of life through pain, infection, delayed healing, altered body image, depression, and increased mortality and morbidity. The human toll on urihaumate (patients), carers and their families-whānau should not be underestimated.
Injuries also carry connotations of neglect and mismanagement on the part of health professionals. Evidence shows most pressure injuries are preventable – early identification of people at risk and subsequent effective management needs to be a high priority for all care providers to reduce harm.
There are key actions that are recognised and promoted to reduce the risk and impact of pressure injuries. For example, the SSKIN care bundle provides a useful approach to ensure that no prevention element is missed. The SSKIN care bundle includes the following:
Surface– provide a supportive and pressure relieving surface
Skin Inspection – undertake regular skin checks for discolouration and pain on bony prominences and under or around medical devices
Keep moving – change position often
Incontinence– keep skin dry and clean
Nutrition – eat healthily and drink plenty of fluids
Pressure injuries impact the New Zealand health system by increasing patients' length of stay, ACC treatment injury claims and care cost. (Health Quality & Safety Commission New Zealand 2020 (modified)).