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Pressure injuries audit

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Auckland City Hospital is embracing a campaign to reduce preventable injuries to patients, allowing them to go home sooner and ensuring more efficient use of health funding.

A recent audit of pressure injuries among patients provided some insights into the extent of the issue and how it can best be tackled to minimise patient harm and ensure the best possible care.

The audit was part of the First, Do No Harm initiative, seeking to reduce the number of adverse clinical events resulting from patient care.

The immediate goal is to reduce pressure injuries to patients across the top half of the North Island by 20 per cent.

Associate Professor Andrew Jull, ADHB Nurse Adviser, Quality, said the audit was an effective way of gaining baseline information and raising awareness among staff of the need to continually focus on improving the patient experience.

“Pressure injuries are important because they are harmful and distressing to the patient and family,” he said.

“They also increase patients’ hospital stay and can add as much as $19,000 extra to the cost of care. There is no question we need to reduce the number of hospital-acquired pressure injuries.”

The ACH audit found 8.8 per cent of patients had one or more pressure injuries, although a quarter of these existed on admission. All age groups were affected but frequency increased with age.

Most pressure injuries (64 per cent) were grade one (at the lower end of the scale), while 27 per cent were grade two injuries, involving breaking of the skin. Nine per cent were grade three or four injuries, involving deep tissue damage.

The next step is including staff in cause-and-effect sessions on barriers to undertaking risk assessment and interventions.

Monthly audits of a random selection of patients will also provide a running estimate of hospital-acquired pressure injuries.