Reducing Risks of Pressure Ulcers for Geriatric Patients
Pressure ulcers (PUs), otherwise known as bedsores, are a common problem for patients, especially older adults, whose movement is limited. This problem brings significant losses to healthcare and inconvenience to patients. The International Pressure Ulcer Prevention Survey found that the prevalence of PUs in hospitals varied from 8 to 14%, and incidence – from 3 to 5% (Jaul et al., 2018, p. 2). At the same time, nurses’ knowledge of pressure injury prevention is often limited and does not correspond to the recommended levels (Dalvand et al., 2018). Given the impact of the problem, action must be taken to solve it. The purpose of the capstone project is to explore methods to reduce the risks of PUs for geriatric patients with limited mobility and propose a plan to implement preventive measures.
Statement of Problem
The comfort of patients provided to them during care can significantly accelerate recovery and improve well-being. PUs, in turn, bring pain, heal for a long time, and can cause health implications. At the same time, their prevention is not complex and more profitable than treatment. Nurses play a crucial role in prevention as they can assess the risk of PUs and take action to provide timely care. However, often, this problem is not given due attention, and nurses’ knowledge is not enough. These reasons justify the relevance of the research project and its importance.
Significance of the Project
Increasing the population’s life expectancy contributes to more senior patients in hospitals and the need to provide them with adequate health services. One of the common problems for geriatric patients is the appearance of PUs. They occur when some areas of the skin do not receive enough blood due to constant pressure, and as a result, the tissue is damaged (Mitchell, 2018). Pressure occurs when people cannot move enough, as due to diseases, they are confined to beds or wheelchairs. At the same time, according to Wung Buh et al. (2021), PUs prevention is 2.5 times cheaper than treatment. Complications include tissue infection, bone infections, cancer, and, rarely, sepsis (Mayo Clinic, 2020). Thus, PUs significantly impair the quality of life of older adults and threaten serious health problems.
Since the effects of PUs are hazardous, their avoidance is an integral part of caring for the older generation. Key preventative measures include careful patient monitoring, timely response to complaints, assistance in movement, and changing pose (IQWiG, 2018). Other measures that help to avoid PUs include a balanced diet, skincare, and special mattresses and support surfaces (IQWiG, 2018). Such actions can play a critical role in prevention and help patients. Their knowledge and understanding are essential for both relatives-caregivers and nurses working with patients.
Although nurses play a crucial role in caring for patients, a significant workload does not allow all aspects to be considered all the time, and some of them are overlooked. The prevention of sores is one of the problems that does not receive enough attention. According to Dalvand et al. (2018), nurses’ knowledge of the issue is insufficient. The paper provides a broad review of the research that has examined nurses’ knowledge. As a result, it was revealed that all three study groups – nurses, student nurses, and assistant nurses – had a level of expertise below the recommended by the Pressure Ulcer Knowledge Assessment Tool (PUKAT) (Dalvand et al., 2018). Updating nurses’ knowledge and testing them can significantly reduce the prevalence of the PUs problem.
Thus, the most significant issues on which this research project focuses are the prevention of PUs and improving nurses’ knowledge about them. Updating knowledge can affect the practice and policy of providing care to the senior population in hospitals. Risk assessment and threat management should be a mandatory part of care. The project may also affect patient-staff relationships and engagement in treatment. Patients, especially the older generation, need attention and respect from nurses.
The primary benefit that improving knowledge should bring is reducing the prevalence of sores. Moreover, a decrease in this problem will favorably affect patients’ quality of life and health, lowering risks. Positive changes will allow focusing on other serious issues that need to be solved in the future. Favorable results will also empower other professionals to use the experience to improve practice. Continuing education and development is an essential part of nursing practice to address such problems as PUs.
Increasing the number of older adult patients in hospitals requires an in-depth study of the problems that accompany their treatment. One such issue is the sores that can increase the duration of treatment from 4 days to 30 days (Wung Buh et al., 2021). They are accompanied by unpleasant feelings that significantly worsen patients’ quality of life. Major risk factors include inactivity and lack of blood flow for pressurized tissues.
In addition to the fact that sores heal for a long time, they can lead to complications. Nurses having a pivotal role in patient care can significantly prevent the problem from occurring. At the moment, some of them do not have enough knowledge to take the required measures. However, ongoing education is necessary, and taking into account the signs and risk factors for the appearance of PUs, nurses can assess patients and take preventive measures. Therefore, a research project focuses on issues of PUs prevention and nurses’ knowledge.
Dalvand, S., Ebadi, A., & Gheshlagh, R. G. (2018). Nurses’ knowledge on pressure injury prevention: A systematic review and meta-analysis based on the Pressure Ulcer Knowledge Assessment Tool. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, 11, 613–620. Web.
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. (2018). Preventing pressure ulcers. Informed Health. Web.
Jaul, E., Barron, J., Rosenzweig, J. P., & Menczel, J. (2018). An overview of co-morbidities and the development of pressure ulcers among older adults. BMC Geriatrics, 18(1), 1-11. Web.
Mayo Clinic. (2020). Bedsores (pressure ulcers). Mayo Clinic Website. Web.
Mitchell, A. (2018). Adult pressure area care: Preventing pressure ulcers. British Journal of Nursing, 27(18), 1050-1052. Web.
Wung Buh, A., Mahmoud, H., Chen, W., McInnes, M., & Fergusson, D. A. (2021). Effects of implementing Pressure Ulcer Prevention Practice Guidelines (PUPPG) in the prevention of pressure ulcers among hospitalised elderly patients: a systematic review protocol. BMJ Open, 11(3), e043042. Web.