Hospital trust selected for national patient safety project

MOP nurses

Nurses at Southampton’s teaching hospitals are participating in an innovative project to reduce the number of preventable falls and pressure ulcers.

Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust has been selected by the Department of Health to create an advanced method of regularly monitoring patients that cuts the risk of avoidable injuries while in hospital.

Every two hours, nursing teams will monitor all patients considered at risk of developing pressure ulcers or at high risk of falling using a new prevention tool developed by staff at Southampton General Hospital.

The assessment covers everything from checking patients’ pressure areas and decluttering the bed space, to maintaining food and drink charts and advising on length of time to be spent in a chair, and will be completed during each check.

The initiative, which launched this week, is designed to create rapid improvement in patient care by ensuring all staff are demonstrating the same high level practice over a 30-day period and will take place on all inpatient wards, excluding paediatrics, critical care and day case areas.

Gail Byrne, deputy director of nursing and head of patient safety, said: “The aim of the new tool is to highlight the most vulnerable patients in each area and for nurses to work with patients to address this with a series of checks every two hours.

“During each visit, patients will have their pressure areas assessed and their position changed, while staff will also ensure they have had a drink if required and that the area is clear, uncluttered and the call bell is within easy reach. Patients will also have their personal hygiene and continence needs addressed and will have regular contact with nurses on the wards.”

Pressure ulcers are estimated to occur in up to 10% of patients admitted to hospital in the UK, while, in acute hospitals alone last year, the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) reported 152,000 falls in England and Wales.

Gina Stanley, matron in medicine for older people, said: “We embrace this project to promote falls awareness and pressure ulcer prevention. This is an excellent opportunity to take forward a Department of Health project that will have a significant impact on patient care and experience.

“The two-hourly care delivery allows our dedicated nurses to perform and document these small tasks that have a huge impact on patient safety and experience."

Posted on Thursday 12 August 2010