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Why Time, Education and Patient Experience are Vital for Effective Pressure Care

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Why Time, Education and Patient Experience are Vital for Effective Pressure Care
By Wealden Rehab 23 September 2016 875 Views

This is the second of 2 blogs outlining our highlights of the recent European Seating Symposium, the leading event on seating and assistive technology.

Pressure care was a key theme throughout the event – not surprising when you consider that pressure-related injuries cause nearly 30,000 deaths in the UK each year. In this post, we cover the latest research and advances in pressure care.

Every second counts because cellular deformation can cause pressure damage fast

The most compelling presentation of our visit had to be W. Darren Hammond’s Woundcare 101. He explained the normal skin healing process and reminded us that ‘wound closure does not equal wound healing.’

Darren emphasised the danger of overlooking deep tissue injury – damage that occurs as a result of pressure or shear but works from the inside outwards, leaving the skin intact. This form of pressure injury needs to be treated as a grade 4 open sore. We need to reduce cellular deformation, as this can lead to injury in as little as 2 hours.

Time was also a talking point for Israeli speaker Amit Gefen, who gave a gripping presentation about providing adequate tissue protection for those with ‘diabesity.’ He too highlighted the importance of preventing and reducing tissue deformation, not just interface pressures.

Amit showed clinical results demonstrating that, while ischaemia takes place over a 6-8 hour period, damage from deformation can take place within minutes. However, by providing adequate envelopment of the ischial tuberosities, you’ll deliver extra safe sitting time.

Critical thinking and the right design are crucial if you want to prioritise the patient experience

Patient experience is a priority for Darren, who emphasised that OTs need to be better critical thinkers in the management of pressure injuries. He also reminded us of the goals of wheelchair seating:

  • Skin integrity
  • Dynamic stability
  • Positioning
  • Comfort
  • Optimal function
  • Ease of use

The patient experience is also ‘really, really important’ for Professor Zena Moore, Head of School of Nursing and Midwifery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She spoke about posture and night-time repositioning, emphasising that stability, comfort and security are the key considerations.

Caroline Newe also presented her findings on the impact of cushion design on posture and pressure distribution, suggesting that implementing a 15˚ ramp loads the femurs and achieves horizontal femurs and normal pelvic position.

Educate your patients – and make sure you’re up to date with the latest research

Another common theme in the presentations was education – of both OTs and patients – and the speakers referenced several resources they find helpful.

  • W. Darren Hammond encouraged us to treat the Braden and Norton scales of pressure as essential knowledge, so we’ve all got a bit of homework to do. He directed us to the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel website, where you can download the fantastic new illustrations of pressure injury staging
  • Professor Jane Nixon from the University of Leeds spoke about the power of case studies – she promoted PERSUN as a useful network for users with pressure injuries
  • Dr Alison Porter-Armstrong from Southampton University reminded us to be much more proactive in encouraging rehab patients to ‘spend less time sitting and more time walking.’ She referred to summary studies demonstrating that OTs feel education is vital in helping patients manage pressure

If we took one idea away from the European Seating Symposium, it was this

W. Darren Hammond summarised the tone of the symposium succinctly when he emphasised that you need to ‘treat the whole patient, not just the hole in the patient.’

This advice resonates deeply with our mission, and we’re keeping it front and centre in everything we do to help OTs and users.

This is the second blog post reviewing the 2016 European Seating Symposium. The first post focuses on accessible technology and how advances are opening new doors for users. Read it here.

Posted in: NewsEventsEducationSeating