St. Joseph Hospital joins countless other hospitals in observing World-Wide Pressure Ulcer Prevention Day on Thursday, November 19. Pressure ulcers, also known as “bed sores,” are injuries to the skin and deeper layers. They can happen when skin is pressed between a bone and an outside surface, like a bed or chair. Hospital patients are particularly susceptible, and our nursing staff is ever conscious of this risk to our patients. They practice proven techniques to encourage prevention. Hospital Staff have been taking part in educational huddles all week to learn the latest techniques to prevent such injuries in hospital patients.
For those who are anticipating a hospital stay, or for their loved ones, patients are encouraged to keep in mind how frail the skin can become if one remains in one position for too long. Re-positioning is one of the biggest things that can be done to prevent pressure ulcers. Nursing staff at St. Joe’s take many types of preventive steps to help ensure their patients do not develop pressure ulcers
Not all pressure ulcers are a result of lying in bed for long periods, however. Gary Pelletier, a local man who is confined to a wheelchair, recalls how he developed two stage 4 pressure ulcers (among the most serious), one above his shoulder blade, and another on his bottom, a result of a poorly designed back on his wheelchair. “I finally had to go to the hospital. I packed up my stuff and I knew I was in it for the long haul.”
Gary can’t be appreciative enough of the nurses in the hospital during his stay, and the staff of the Hospital’s Wound Healing Center. First, they encouraged him to eat a healthy protein diet, which encourages wound healing. “They helped me to keep changing positions, encouraged me to exercise. They were always there when I needed them.” It was a long haul. But finally, two months ago, after 148 days of treatment, with help from his care team and encouraged by his own undaunted self-determination to get better, Gary’s injuries were completely healed.
“They were all so nice to me, Gary recalls, like a second family.”
For more information on the web, visit the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Council. You can download a prevention brochure here.