Worldwide STOP Pressure Injury Day
Thursday 19th November marks the Worldwide STOP Pressure Injury Day – a day to raise awareness of pressure injuries, and to promote education and collaboration to prevent their occurrence. Many of us will be familiar with pressure injuries and their implications, both their impact on the person’s quality of life, and the cost to the health sector in treating them. Worldwide STOP Pressure Injury Day offers us the chance to learn more about pressure injures and how we can assist in their prevention.
One important source of information on pressure injuries is the ‘Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Ulcers/Injuries: Clinical Practice Guideline’ released last year, which gives an evidenced based overview into the prevention and treatment of pressure injuries. This guideline is available online for purchase or is accompanied by a quick-reference guide that is free to download. For therapists, one aspect of pressure care we are frequently involved in is the recommendation of support surfaces – both for lying and sitting, hence it is worth us consulting the guideline and ensuring we are following best practice.
One challenging aspect of support surfaces in the ongoing need for education on the correct use of any support surface. For me, November has been a busy month for education about ROHO products, with the most common enquiry being ‘how do I know a ROHO cushion / mattress is inflated correctly’ closely followed by ‘how do I clean the ROHO cushion / mattress and its cover’. Many of these enquiries have come from nursing staff who are new to working with ROHO, however many caregivers in the community are likely to have the same questions. Part of our role when working with people who are dependent on a specialised support surfaces to assist in managing their pressure relief, is ensuring the person, and their wider team, understand how these support surfaces work and how to care for them. We need to ensure they know how to check their support surface is working correctly, how to identify when it is not, and who they need to contact if they need help with repairs or maintenance. In some instances, this can be a challenge due to high turnover of staff in some areas, meaning trainings may need to be frequently repeated, or written information provided that is easy for new staff members to follow.
For those who frequently prescribe support surfaces, either mattresses or cushions, this week is a good opportunity to evaluate what tools you use, or resources you have, to assist in preventing pressure injuries. What tools do you use to help identify who is at risk of developing a pressure injury? Or what resources do you have to complement use of support surfaces? Alternatively, this week could be a good opportunity to link in with your community nursing or wound care team - an excuse to meet if your paths don’t often cross despite often working with the same group of people. This collaboration can be time well spent, as collaboration across teams or different departments often result in a more co-ordinated approach to service delivery, which ultimately benefits the person requiring the service.
So for this weeks Worldwide STOP Pressure Injury day, make sure you take some time to learn and some time to reflect. Take some time to attend an event at your local hospital, or join an online webinar, or browse the Clinical Practice Guidelines or Quick Reference Guide. Take some time to reflect on your practice and your contribution to preventing pressure injuries – because if each of us takes pressure injuries seriously we can reduce their incidence and prevent the reduction in quality of life that typically accompany them.
Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Ulcers/Injuries: Clinical Practice Guideline or Quick Practice Guide link https://pppia.org/guideline/
New Zealand Wound Care Society – Clinical and Public resources https://www.nzwcs.org.nz/resources/stop-pi-day
Wounds Australia – https://www.woundsaustralia.com.au/
Clinical Education Specialist
Rachel Maher graduated from the University of Otago in 2003 with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Physiotherapy (Neurorehabilitation) in 2010.
Rachel gained experience in inpatient rehabilitation and community Physiotherapy, before moving into a Child Development Service.
Rachel moved into a Wheelchair and Seating Outreach Advisor role at Enable New Zealand in 2014, complementing her clinical knowledge with experience in NZ Ministry of Health funding processes.
Rachel joined Permobil in June 2020, and is passionate about education and working collaboratively to achieve the best result for our end users.