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Study shows that collaboration decreases incidence of pressure ulcers

The New Jersey Hospital Association released today the findings from its Pressure Ulcer Collaborative and announced that it was able to decrease the incidence of pressure ulcers by 70% in just two years. These substantial successes were not the result of new pharmaceuticals or new technological breakthroughs. Rather, the health care facilities were able to drastically reduce the number of pressure ulcers with simple techniques such as: “complete skin evaluation within eight hours of admission; evaluation of the risk of skin breakdown using the internationally respected Braden scale; implementation of preventive strategies, such as proper positioning and use of assistive devices; and ongoing observation of the condition of patients’ skin, particularly for those identified as being at high risk for developing a pressure ulcer.”

Contrary to the common excuse of nursing homes and hospitals that painful and sometimes fatal pressure sores are somehow unavoidable, the findings of the New Jersey Hospital Association’s Pressure Ulcer Collaborative show that health care providers already have the tools that they need to fight pressure ulcers. The key to the Pressure Ulcer Collaborative’s success was a simple sharing of knowledge and improved efforts at coordination of health care services between hospitals and nursing homes. Said Aline Homes, RN, NJHA senior vice president of clinical affairs, “When caregivers communicate and work together, they can learn from each other and improve patient outcomes.”

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