Great Western Hospital patients experience the lowest number of pressure ulcers in the south west

Nursing staff at the Great Western Hospital (GWH) in Swindon are leading the way in the prevention of pressure ulcers, with the number of patients experiencing this painful condition falling by 60 per cent in the last two years.

Of the 14,500 inpatients being cared for at GWH each month, around four patients may develop a pressure ulcer, compared to up to ten each month in 2014/15.

The 60 per cent reduction is thanks to the Trust’s dedicated Tissue Viability Team and nursing teams who ensure that each patient has a skin assessment within two hours of being admitted into hospital.

Pressure ulcers tend to affect people confined to lying in a bed or sitting for prolonged periods of time. They can be painful and debilitating and although some are unavoidable, many can be prevented through good nursing care.

This is why preventing pressure ulcers was identified as one of the Trust’s five Sign up to Safety priorities in 2015. Preventing this avoidable condition with safe and high quality care will help the Trust achieve its goal of saving an extra 500 lives by 2020.

If a patient is at risk of developing a pressure ulcer, they will be given an air mattress to relieve pressure. Making regular changes to position, nutrition and good hydration and checking regularly for signs, are just some of the things done to prevent and alleviate the painful condition.

Hilary Walker, Chief Nurse, said: “I’m really pleased we’re making good progress at preventing this painful and debilitating condition. A pressure ulcer can have a huge impact on a patient’s recovery and general health and wellbeing, particularly among the elderly, which is why we’re doing everything we can to prevent them.”

700,000 people are affected by pressure ulcers each year and treating them costs the NHS more than £3.8 million every day.