Preventing pressure ulcers is among the top quality improvement initiatives under way at community hospitals across California. Sometimes referred to as a "bed sore," a pressure ulcer is a painful skin sore.
Pressure ulcers are among the five most common types of harm experienced by patients in health care facilities. According to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the number of hospitalized patients with pressure ulcers has increased dramatically in the past decade and costs more than $11 billion annually to treat.
In 2008, White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles adopted a culture of safety, based on a model by Johns Hopkins University. The culture extends throughout the entire organization and includes a subcommittee of the hospital’s governing board. The subcommittee, called Clinical Quality and Patient Safety, monitors the hospital’s safety record and clinical performance, guides progress towards established goals and holds hospital leadership accountable for improvements.
In 2003, Sutter Health implemented an aggressive strategy to reduce the number of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers. The goal is to prevent these skin sores in all patients under the care of Sutter Health hospitals throughout Northern California.
Clinical experts and leaders from throughout the Sutter Health network came together to identify procedures and products that lessen the risk of patients developing a pressure ulcers during hospitalization. The results of this work included: