Hospital Acquired Pressure Ulcers

Pressure ulcers are areas of damaged skin and underlying tissue caused by staying in one position for too long. They commonly form where bones are close to the skin, such as the back, heels and hips. A patient who is bedridden, uses a wheelchair, or is unable to change position is at risk.

Pressure ulcers are slow to heal, so prevention is our focus. A comprehensive program for prevention of pressure ulcers was begun in 2011. The program uses evidence based best practices. Nursing leadership combines with patient care unit champions and focuses on how to identify patients at risk for pressure ulcers, implementing evidence based prevention protocols, evaluating new equipment and products as they become available, promoting interdepartmental collaboration, providing extensive education and numerous other measures all aimed at preventing pressure ulcers.

What are we measuring?

The number of pressure ulcers that occurred while the patient was in the JFK Hospital or Johnson Rehabilitation Institute (JRI).

2016Q4 PU 1


What is our performance telling us?

The graph above shows the sustained success of our program and a substantial decrease in the number of hospital acquired pressure ulcers since 2011. This is an ongoing program and we are committed to keeping our focus on protecting our patients from pressure ulcers.

What can you do to prevent pressure ulcers?

While you are in the hospital and in bed you should turn from one side to the other at least every two hours. Your heels should be elevated so they are not resting on the bed. When you are in a chair you should shift your weight at least every two hours. You may also sit on a pillow.

The nursing staff will check your skin to look for signs of pressure on the skin.

Whether you are at home or in the hospital, you are at risk for developing a pressure ulcer if you:

  • Spend most of your day in a bed, a chair, or a wheelchair
  • Are overweight or underweight
  • Are not able to control your bowels or bladder
  • Have decrease feeling in an area of your body
  • Spend a lot of time in one position

Here are some of the things you can do to prevent pressure ulcers:

  • Do NOT put pillows under your knees. It puts pressure on your heels
  • NEVER drag yourself to change your position or get in or out of bed. Dragging will cause skin breakdown. Get help if you need moving in bed or getting in or out of bed.
  • If someone else moves you, they should lift you or use a draw sheet (a special sheet used for this purpose) to move you.
  • Change your position every 1 - 2 hours to keep the pressure off any one spot.
  • Sheets and clothing should be dry and smooth, with no wrinkles.
  • Remove any objects such as pins, pencils or pens, or coins from your bed.
  • Do not raise the head of your bed to more than a 30-degree angle. Being flatter keeps your body from sliding down. Sliding may harm your skin.

Below is a link to the National Library of Medicine health information website. Click the link below for additional information.