Guest post from Local Integration Lead, Janice Cameron

Older people living in Care Homes are some of the most vulnerable people in society. Due to complex needs, illness & frailty they can be at higher risk of developing a Pressure Ulcer.

The announcement that a collaborative of the Scottish Patient Safety Programme, Scottish Care & the Care Inspectorate were asking for HSCPs to submit applications for a programme beginning in May 2016 running to Dec 2017 to look at reducing pressure ulcers in care homes was met with much enthusiasm in East Dunbartonshire.

The aims & objectives of the programme were: SPSP would work with HSCPs, NHS territorial boards, Scottish Care and other local authority, private and third sector care homes across Scotland to reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers for residents in care homes.

Following submission of an application from our partnership, then attending an interview panel on a very rare sunny day in Edinburgh we were one of four Partnerships across Scotland to be accepted onto the programme.

The initial excitement of being accepted onto the programme soon lead to feelings of terror.

Five Care Homes volunteered to take part and we were a team of three enthusiastic but naive colleagues from the NHS & Independent Sector.

I have to say that following initial collection of data from all participating Care Homes from the four HSCPs in Scotland, it was very apparent that there was a very small incidence of Pressure Ulcers.

Therefore, it was decided that although we were aiming to reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers in care homes by 50% by Dec 2017, we also had to look at how we were going to prevent them.

Now, I could spout on forever over how we introduced Pressure Ulcer Grading training for all staff, pressure ulcer peer grading, red day review tools, data collection tools and graphs but that may get boring, however  I would urge you to go on to the website www.pressureulcer.scot and have a look at all the innovative work  happening across Scotland, along with some great information and tools.

I can’t pretend at times it’s not been a hard slog.

It has taken a lot of resource to get the programme up and running, also to keep enthusiasm and engagement consistent when the day job takes over, but our gang of three and our five Care Homes have been magnificent in achieving just that.

At our first Learning Set where we looked at the PDSA cycle as a tool for improvement, I did find that, in fact I am not any good at building paper aeroplanes!!!

Below is a nice picture of two of the team with their aeroplane which shows we also had fun along the way.

Through the hard work of everyone in East Dunbartonshire who has taken part in the project, we have been selected as one of three areas to have one of our homes evaluated.

This home is trialling a Pressure Ulcer Daily Risk Assessment Tool and when complete, the evaluation will be available on the website already mentioned.

We are also extremely honoured that members of our team have been asked to attend the Pressure Ulcer World Summit in Manchester in December to talk about how we approached the project and some of the Assessment Tools that we have successfully implemented in the Care Homes.

If you get the opportunity to take part in something like this I would urge you to get involved. No one wants a resident to get a pressure ulcer. In some cases, this is unavoidable but by making small changes and improvements through a programme like this we can reduce and even prevent it happening.

There have also been the fringe benefits. Existing relationships with care homes become stronger due to being in frequent contact, meeting new colleagues who broaden your network of skilled people you can call on should you require their specialist knowledge, true partnership working and many more not forgetting there is fun to be had along the way!!!

Officially the programme concludes at the end of December 2017, however the bigger challenge will be how to ensure improvements already made are sustainable. How do we spread this to our other care homes and then……. take over the world!!!

Janice Cameron

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