News & Events
The ‘Stop the Pressure’ Campaign
- Posted by: curtislegalwp
- Category: pressure sores
One of the indicators of a properly functioning health service is the incidence of pressure sores, also called pressure ulcers or bed sores. These are mainly avoidable through monitoring and preventative action, yet continue to be an infliction for tens of thousands of vulnerable people across the U.K. and also a huge cost to the National Health Service in terms of repairing the damage done by them.
Pressure ulcers are most likely to affect specific groups of people: those who through one reason or another are unable to move themselves often enough or easily enough when lying in bed. The sorts of people who are most vulnerable to the danger of pressure ulcers include elderly people who are bedridden in residential care homes or geriatric wards in hospitals as well as those who are paralysed as a result of spinal cord damage.
Statistics from around the world shows the U.K. pressure sore problem is not unique
Pressure sores are not a uniquely U.K. problem by any means. The evidence from other O.E.C.D. countries shows that the incidence of pressure sores and the cost of them to society is significant in many other countries. The European Union Pressure Ulcer Panel (E.U.P.A.P.) has revealed the following alarming statistics:
- In the U.S. the annual cost of pressure ulcer care has been estimated at around £8 billion.
- In Australia, the cost of extended hospital care because of pressure ulcers is approx. £170 million a year.
- In the Netherlands, between £210 and £2 billion is spent on treating pressure ulcers every year.
- Here in the U.K. the cost to the NHS, including community health care costs, is estimated at £750 million a year, about 4% of the annual NHS budget.
The ‘Stop the Pressure’ campaign
The E.U.P.A.P., as well as the NHS, has mounted a campaign to reduce the incidence of pressure sores called “Stop the Pressure”. In the U.K. this was set up by the Midlands and East NHS trusts in 2012 and has now been adopted by NHS Improvement, a national body. The aim of the campaign is to spread awareness amongst health professionals and care workers about the need to monitor and treat early signs of pressure sores. Pressure sores are far less likely to develop if thorough preventative measures are employed with a vulnerable patient or elderly resident of a care home. The ‘Stop the Pressure’ campaign has achieved significant success, with a 50% drop in pressure sores observed in the first year of the campaign in the Midlands and East (NHS data).
The campaign raises awareness of the reasons for the development of pressure sores through an information sharing strategy, explaining what the early warning signs are, how to prevent the ulcers from occurring in the first place and using specialist tools like the NHS Safety Thermometer and SSKIN. SSKIN stands for:
- Surface: Making sure patients have support for their surface
- Skin: Inspecting the Skin regularly
- Keeping the patient moving or turned regularly
- Incontinence or moisture: keeping patients dry and clean
- Nutrition and hydration: making sure patients have enough to eat and drink.
Stop the Pressure doesn’t work when negligence rears its ugly head
Pressure ulcers in the year 2017 simply shouldn’t occur as frequently as they do. There has been enough awareness raised of how they happen and what they mean to patients in terms of their quality of life as well as the cost to society. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that your loved one is not going to suffer from pressure sores. When those who have been entrusted to look after an elderly or bedridden patient are lazy or negligent in the way they do their job, pressure sores are more likely to occur.
If you suspect or directly observe avoidable pressure sores, and believe that not enough is being done about it by the caregiver or hospital, contact a solicitor with experience in pressure sore claims like Curtis Legal. You have the right to take legal action if negligence can be proved. Successful claims can help not only your loved one but serve as a warning to the individual and / or institution that they must improve their vigilance.