Jo Habben: Reducing pressure damage is everybody’s business

jo_habbenPressure damage isn’t new, Florence Nightingale herself identified that in some circumstances pressure ulcers could be attributed to deficits in nursing care. We have known about pressure damage for a long time, and although we have learned an awful lot about how to prevent and treat it, we still have a long way to go to get it right.

It is so important for us to understand the pain, the discomfort, and the significant life change it can mean for somebody when they develop a pressure ulcer. I truly believe that listening to patients is the most important learning objective for all healthcare and social care staff and the only way we can make true lasting improvements.

I was really pleased that we had such a strong patient voice at the latest Kent Surrey Sussex Patient Safety Collaborative (KSS PSC) pressure damage workshop. It was really important to listen to the experiences of patients who have themselves developed pressure ulcers.

The energy in the room was fantastic. The outcome of days like this where we bought so many patients and different organisations from the NHS, private healthcare, and social care sectors from across Kent, Surrey, and Sussex together is that we will network and learn from each other.

I am a nurse and quality and patient safety lead myself, but the big message is that pressure damage is everybody’s business, not just nursing, clinicians, and therapists, but very much part of the carer network and the patient network too.

With the healthcare landscape we have now with multiple providers across organisations it is vital that we learn from each other. There are pockets of excellent practice that neighbouring trusts and providers may not be aware of, so our objective is to bring all that learning together and measure its success. The most important thing to learn from each other is what’s working well, but we can also learn from hasn’t worked well and design processes around that.

We were very lucky yesterday to have Susanne Coleman from the University of Leeds deliver a masterclass in Purpose-T, a new risk assessment tool that is helping to drive significant reductions in pressure damage. Although as Coleman stated, it is important to note that the risk assessment is just that, and it is the care pathways that follow the initial and subsequent risk assessments that will make a major difference to patient experience and safety.

The workshop was a great success. With more than 100 people in the room and a large number of people who wanted to come but we couldn’t fit in, I am both hugely encouraged by the appetite of staff in Kent, Surrey and Sussex to reduce pressure damage and improve care for patients who do have pressure ulcers, and also certain that by working together we can achieve our ultimate goal of reducing pressure damage in all care settings.

Find out about future PSC and AHSN workshops and seminars on our website.

Jo Habben is the Kent Surrey Sussex Patient Safety Collaborative clinical lead for the pressure damage workstream and the Quality and Patient Safety Manager for Sussex CCGs (management of serious incident).

Competing interests: Jo Habben is a expert witness for both claimant and defendant in civil claims.