Patient safety project continues to deliver results

An innovative safety project introduced in August 2010 has continued to deliver impressive results year on year at Southampton General Hospital.

In the first eight months of the project serious pressure ulcers were reduced by 25% and harm caused by avoidable falls by 30%.

The Trust is now on track to halve the number of avoidable high harm falls in 2011/12, and achieve a further 50% reduction in serious pressure ulcers, totalling 75% in just two years.

UHS was originally selected by the Department of Health to create an advanced method of regularly monitoring the safety of patients while in hospital.

Every two hours, nursing teams monitor all patients considered at risk of developing pressure ulcers or at high risk of falling and take action where necessary.

The project team has also focused on investigating when falls and pressure ulcers have occurred, to gain a greater understanding of the causes of these incidents, guide the improvements needed and ensure the organisation learns from them.

Gail Byrne, deputy director of nursing and head of patient safety, said: “The aim is to highlight the at risk patients and for nurses to act to reduce the risks of harm. 

 “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.

“The next step is to achieve our ambition of zero serious pressure ulcers and avoidable falls."

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Nurse with patient