The oft-forgotten ally: Patients and injury prevention

Unfortunately I have had the recent pleasure of injuring myself – not through any heroic activity such as lifting a crashed car off a small child, but, good grief, simply through removing an article of clothing – and to prevent a similar injury I had been counselled by those in the know that surgery was my only option. As a well-educated, articulate, and hopefully-well-presented ‘middle-aged’ lady I was appalled at the level of patronisation and discourtesy that I received during a pre-surgery consultation with said surgeon. In fact I felt so dissatisfied with my experience that I am seeking the services of another whom I expect will be more professional and remember that indeed not only am I person and as such I deserve to be treated with respect and to retain at least some modicum of dignity, but that I also play a key role in preventing further injury to the afflicted site post-surgery.

Still reeling from the unsavoury experience, I was delighted to see a paper in a recent search of PubMed which actually gives the patient a voice, instead of, perplexingly, trying to take them out of the equation as much as possible! Latimer, Chaboyer and Gillespie present their research regarding hospital in-patient participation in preventing pressure-related injuries framed within a nurse-led patient-centred care model.

The researchers conducted a content analysis of the transcribed semi-structured interviews with 20 in-patients requiring assistance to ambulate/reposition in two metropolitan hospitals. For those interested in the research findings, three categories were identified:

1. experiencing pressure injury (including emotions, pain and odour)

2. participating in pressure injury prevention (including being involved in care decisions and self-determination)

3. resourcing pressure injury prevention and treatment (including cost, access, and prolonging healing)

I particularly loved the following sentences:

A. a sentence from the Discussion: “Participant’s interaction with clinicians, and nurses in particular, affected their emotional response to their pressure injury experience.” The importance of this sentence cannot be understated, especially as I am still reeling from my own relatively benign interaction.

B. the closing sentence of the Abstract: “If patient participation as a pressure injury prevention strategy is to be considered, nurses and organisations need to view patients as partners.” In an environment of increasing workload and competition for resources, not to mention my recent unsatisfactory experience, I would argue that “If” should be replaced with “As”.


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