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International Stop Pressure Injury Day: Southern DHB launches new pressure injury prevention programme

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A new Pressure Injury Prevention programme to train and support staff across the Southern district is being launched to coincide with International Stop Pressure Injury Day tomorrow (21 November).

Pressure injuries – also known as pressure ulcers or bed sores – can start with a reddened patch which can develop into a complex wound, sometimes extending down to the bone.

Southern DHB is committed to eliminating avoidable pressure injuries, and over the last 12 months has been working with community services, age residential care facilities and hospital services to develop the new programme.

Southern DHB Nursing Director Strategy Primary and Community, Sally O’Connor says, “Pressure injuries cause patients long term pain and distress, but evidence suggests up to 95% are preventable when appropriate interventions are in place.

“The programme is part of the organisations wider focus on patient safety and injury prevention, and the initial roll out is for Southern DHB services which will be followed over the next few months with a roll out to age residential care facilities and community services.”

The DHB is marking Stop Pressure Injury day with a public information display at Southland Hospital and training sessions about the new programme will be running for staff.

Who is at risk of getting a pressure injury?

Anyone can suffer from pressure injuries, but they usually affect people with little movement such as being confined to a bed, a chair or a wheelchair for long periods of time.

You are at risk if:

  • You spend long periods of time in bed
  • You are in a wheelchair or you sit for long periods of time in a chair
  • You have difficulty moving about
  • You have a serious illness or had major surgery
  • You are elderly or frail
  • You have damp skin from sweating or incontinence (e.g. difficulty getting to the toilet in time, loss of bladder or bowel control)
  • You have loss of feeling (e.g. due to epidural, diabetes or following a stroke) or poor blood flow
  • You do not eat a balanced diet or have enough fluids to drink

What can you or your family do to help prevent pressure injuries?

If you are in bed

  • Change your position every two to three hours, moving between your back and sides
  • Use pillows to stop knees and ankles from touching each other, particularly when you are lying on your side
  • Try to avoid creases in the bed linen
  • If sitting up in bed, be aware that sliding down the bed can cause a pressure injury to your bottom and heels

If you are in a wheelchair

  • Relieve pressure by leaning forward, or leaning side to side for a few minutes every half hour

What else can you do to help?

  • Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids
  • Keep your skin clean and dry
  • Ask your nurse to help you with any incontinence
  • Remind your carers: please help me move

Your nurse, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, doctor or dietitian can help you plan your care to prevent a pressure injury.

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Media queries:

Please contact Southern DHB Senior Communications Advisor, Melissa Garry
Mobile: 0272260633

Or Southern DHB Communications Advisor, Pauline Chin
Phone: 03 4769412