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New guidance on preventing pressure ulcers in care homes

A new ‘quick guide’ has been published by the Social Care Institute for Excellence for registered managers of care homes. The guide, Helping to prevent pressure ulcers, has been written in collaboration with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to help care home managers take appropriate steps to reduce the risks of their service users developing pressure ulcers.

The guide covers:

  • who is most likely to get a pressure ulcer?
  • risk assessment
  • care planning
  • repositioning
  • providing information.

The guidance defines a pressure ulcer as occurring when an area of skin and the tissues underneath it are damaged by being under such pressure that the blood supply is reduced. This tends to happen when people spend long periods in a bed or chair.

Anyone living in a care home can develop a pressure ulcer. However, risk factors that make pressure ulcers more likely are described as:

  • limited mobility or being unable to change position without help
  • a loss of feeling in part of the body
  • having had a pressure ulcer before, or having one now
  • not having eaten well for a period of time
  • thin, dry or weak skin
  • a significant cognitive impairment.

The guidance states that any person who has several risk factors or a history of pressure ulcers should be assessed as being at ‘high risk’ and a trained healthcare professional should complete a skin assessment. The result should be entered into a care plan which should focus on the actions needed to help prevent a pressure ulcer from developing.

Basic information on repositioning – helping the person to change position and remove or relieve pressure – is included in the guidance. Also included is advice on providing information to service users.

Further details about the Helping to prevent pressure ulcers quick guide can be obtained from the SCIE website at https://bit.ly/2W9CBhJ.

All SCIE resources are free to download. However, a free MySCIE account is needed in order to gain access.

In addition to the download, a fully interactive web-based version of the guidance is also available on the NICE website at https://bit.ly/2U5OnYY.