Stop the Pressure Ulcer Day 2021
Every year, on the third Thursday in November, the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP) holds the Stop Pressure Ulcer Day to help raise awareness of pressure ulcer prevention.
For the same reason, it is also an important date in my diary. The more we highlight the horrific stories of clients who developed wholly preventable pressure sores, the more pressure is exerted on the NHS and other organisations to develop and consistently implement better prevention measures.
I wrote a blog on pressure ulcer prevention last year.
This year, to really bring home the seriousness and gravity of the issues surrounding pressure sores, I have put together some really alarming statistics in respect of pressure sores. Some of the information included below originates from an excellent APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) training session presented by Cathie Bree-Aslan Tissue Viability expert and Deanne Barrow Care and Occupational Therapy expert.
- The published mortality rates for all category 4 pressure sores range from 22–37% (Davies et al, 1991)
- Of those patients developing a pressure ulcer, 90% of patients die within four months (Bader, 1990)
- According to the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN), patients who have had a category 3 or 4 pressure ulcer are at 56% risk recurrence over and above the risk they may have had in any event
- They are at 21% risk of a further Pressure Ulcer in another area of their body (due to the need to transfer pressures to other areas of the body so as to offload pressure on the affected area)
Whilst the above statistics are not specific to people with Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI), my understanding is that up to 85% of the people with SCI develop a pressure ulcer at some point during their lifetimes and more than 70% of the SCI patients with a pressure ulcer will develop multiple ulcers.
The effect of pressure ulcers on people with spinal cord injuries is multi-levelled and from my experience, will often include:-
- Delayed rehabilitation especially if pressure sore is suffered in early stages after suffering a Spinal Cord Injury
- Enforced total bed rest of significant duration
- Further dependence on others, over and above the original effect of SCI itself
- Increase in muscle weakness and/or contractures
- Increased spasticity
- Increased need for additional off loading/pressure area care
- Greater pain levels
- Greater risk of Autonomic Dysreflexia
- Deterioration in mental health
These far reaching complications can really adversely affect one’s quality of life and have significant financial implications to those individuals and their families.
That’s why it is so important to avoid the pressure sores from developing at all cost. And where the damage has sadly occurred, we need to ensure that full compensation is secured taking into consideration all the possible effects of the pressure sore on one’s life.