By Sylvia Foley, AJN senior editor

A skin lesion monitoring form accompanies a patient. Photo courtesy of NHCH.

A skin lesion monitoring form accompanies a patient. Photo courtesy of NHCH.

In 2009, when one of the world’s largest cardiac care hospitals experienced a spike in the number of surgeries performed and a corresponding rise in hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, many people were concerned. The hospital—Narayana Hrudayalaya Cardiac Hospital (NHCH) in Bangalore, India—soon initiated a program to address the problem, and nursing superintendent Rohini Paul was tasked with designing and implementing effective preventive strategies. In this month’s CE feature, “Sustaining Pressure Ulcer Best Practices in a High-Volume Cardiac Care Environment,” Paul and colleagues describe what happened next. Here’s a brief overview.

Baseline data showed that, over the five-month observation period, an average of 6% of all adult and pediatric surgical patients experienced a pressure ulcer while recovering in the NHCH intensive therapy unit (ITU). Phase 1 implementation efforts, which began in January 2010, focused on four areas: raising awareness, increasing education, improving documentation and communication, and implementing various preventive practices. Phase 2 implementation efforts, which began the following month, focused on changing operating room practices. The primary outcome measure was the weekly percentage of ITU patients with pressure ulcers.
By July 2010, that percentage was reduced to zero; as of April 1, 2014, the hospital has maintained this result. Elements that contributed significantly to the program’s success and sustainability include strong leadership, nurse and physician involvement, an emphasis on personal responsibility, improved documentation and communication, ongoing training and support, and a portfolio of low-tech changes to core workflows and behaviors. Many of these elements are applicable to U.S. acute care environments.

The authors emphasize the importance of “absolute transparency and personal accountability” in ensuring the program’s sustained success. As one senior nurse said, “It was the personal responsibility that started making a difference. Now everybody’s aware, everybody’s cooperative and on their toes, and we have no skin ulcers.”

For more details, read the article, which is free online. And please share your experiences and insights with us below.

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