Healthcare professionals are accountable for providing safe and effective care to prevent pressure ulcers. Pressure ulcers are recognised as a patient harm, as they can cause pain and affect quality of life and general health and wellbeing. In certain circumstances pressure ulcers can result in infection, amputation, delayed discharge from hospital or ongoing community care and sometimes death. Pressure ulcers can also have financial implications on the individual and the NHS as a whole.

It is important for all healthcare professionals to work collaboratively and engage with risk assessments of patients and the five principles of pressure ulcer prevention. These are:

  • Surface
  • Skin Inspection
  • Keep moving
  • Incontinence and moisture
  • Nutrition and hydration

When these key principles are implemented pressure ulcers can be avoided. The duty of candour must be applied for all serious pressure ulcer incidents and an investigation must take place to identify cause or gaps in care. If there are any gaps in care, lessons must be learnt and shared to avoid reoccurrence. If there are any concerns regarding omissions to patients care, refer to your local safeguarding policy or contact your safeguarding team for advice.

The three priorities for the Stop the Pressure programme board:

  1. Surface
  2. Skin Inspection
  3. Keep moving

The three workstreams for the Expert Working Group:

  1. Website development: West Midlands Tissue Viability Network. Developing and maintaining the website with up to date, evidence based best practice
  2. Audit SSKIN bundle: East of England TVN network has been discussing the issues around developing, using and standardising an SSKIN audit template across the region. This SSKIN audit template would include some form of observational audit tool. It was agreed that the network would develop some recommendations for SSKIN bundle audit tools that can be used by both acute and community organisations. This will be the main agenda item for the next meeting in February 2016.
  3. Equipment: East Midlands Tissue Viability network. Completion of an evaluation on three heel products, in addition to other products that are new to market.

Academic Health Science Network

Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN) have been established to deliver a step change in the way the NHS identifies, develops and adopts new technologies and are based on partnership working and collaboration between the NHS, academia, the private sector and other external partners within a single AHSN context and across AHSNs.

There are 4 core objectives for the AHSNs:

  1. Focus on the needs of patients and the local populations; support and work in partnership with commissioners and public health bodies to identify and address unmet medical needs, whilst promoting health equality and best practice
  2. Build a culture of partnership and collaboration; promote inclusivity, partnership and collaboration to consider and address local, regional and national priorities.
  3. Speed up adoption of innovation into practice to improve clinical outcomes and patient experience – support the identification and more rapid spread of research and innovation at pace and scale to improve patient care and local population health
  4. Create wealth through co-development, testing, evaluation and early adoption and spread of new products and services.

National Tissue Viability Groups

West Midlands Tissue Viability Nurse Association
Chair: Lisa Turley

East Midlands
Chair: Sarah Pankhurst

East of England
Chair: Liam Horkan

Welsh Wound Collaborative
Chair: Kirsty Mahoney

NATVNs (London and South
Chair: Kumar Rajpaul

East Midlands
East Midlands initiatives are predominantly the Wound care collaborative. As a region we have thoroughly evaluated wound care products and produced a list to work with NHS supply chain.

Northern Ireland
Pressure Ulcers to Zero, a large scale improvement healthcare collaborative began in February 2014. The primary aim of this collaborative was to reduce the incidence of avoidable pressure ulcers within the former Dublin North East (DNE) region and to increase the capacity and capability of frontline clinical teams to improve the care they deliver.

Resources to support professionals can be found within the resources section