Bed sore misery for patients

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Hundreds of people have suffered painful bed sores while staying in hospitals run by the Morecambe Bay health trust.

The cost of treating cases since April last year is estimated to be over £1m, although University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust (UHMBT) could not give an exact figure.

Between April 2012 and the end of January, the Trust said that 227 people got severe pressure ulcers, also known as bed sores, while in its care.

Pressure ulcers are caused by continued pressure on a prominent part of the body, compromising the blood supply and causing the skin to die.

Of the 227, 213 were recorded as Grade 2, which cost at least £3,984 per case to treat, or a total of at least £840,924.

Another 12 people acquired Grade 3 ulcers, and 2 were the “very severe” Grade 4 ulcers, which can cost up to £40,000 per case to treat, according to national figures.

In a newsletter sent out to staff last month, the trust said that pressure ulcers were avoidable and caused pain and misery to patients.

Joann Morse, Deputy Chief Nurse at UHMBT, said: “The experience our patients get when in one of our hospitals is extremely important to us and staff are working very hard to continue to reduce the risk of patients developing pressure sores when on our wards.

“Each of our wards has its own Tissue Viability Link Nurse and Skin and Safety Nurse.

“These specially trained staff are there to offer regular support, guidance and advice to all staff regarding patients who currently have pressure sores or may be suspected of developing them.

“Regular training is vital and we currently have quarterly Tissue Viability Link Nurse and Skin and Safety Nurse sessions, where staff are trained on the latest pressure ulcer prevention, the equipment available and how to use it.

“Any issues that may have arisen within wards are also raised at these sessions, with a focus on wound care products and wound and skin management.

“We are also in the process of finalising an e-learning package on pressure ulcer prevention, which will become mandatory for all nursing staff to complete.”