Background: Hospital-acquired pressure ulcers are serious clinical complications that can lead to increased length of stay, pain, infection, and, potentially, death. The surgical progressive care unit at Sharp Grossmont Hospital, San Diego, California, developed the multidisciplinary Healthy Skin Project to decrease the prevalence of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers.
Methods: The previous treatment plan was reviewed and modified according to current evidence-based practice. The project consisted of 3 components: creation of a position for a unit-based wound liaison nurse, staff education, and involvement of the nursing assistants. The wound liaison nurse developed and conducted bimonthly skin audits, which revealed inconsistencies in clinical practice and documentation. Education for the staff was accomplished via a self-learning module, case presentations, and 1-on-1 training. In addition, a pressure ulcer algorithm tool was developed to demonstrate step-by-step wound management and documentation.
Results: From Spring 2003 through Summer 2006, the prevalence of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers ranged from 0.0% to 18.92%, with a mean of 4.85%. After implementation of the project, the prevalence decreased to 0.0% for 17 of 20 quarters, through 2011.
Conclusion: Prevention and a multidisciplinary approach are effective in reducing the occurrence of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers.