Quality Improvement: Pressure Ulcers

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Quality improvement issues in healthcare focus on the care that patients receive and the outcomes that patients experience. Nurses play a major advocacy role for ensuring safe and quality care to all patients. Also, nurses share the responsibility in leading the efforts in improving patient care in all settings (Berwick, 2002). One of the ongoing problems plaguing hospitals and nursing homes is the development of new pressure ulcers in patients after admission. A pressure ulcer can be defined as a localized area of necrotic tissue that is likely to occur after soft tissue is compressed between a bony prominence and a surface for prolonged periods of time (Andrychuk, 1998). According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid,…show more content…
However, only 10% of nurses actually complete accurate inspections of the skin during their initial physical assessments of the patients (Lahmann et al., 2010). As a result, patients who are at risk of developing pressure ulcers are often overlooked by nursing staff. Evidence suggests that pressure ulcers greatly increase mortality rates in both hospitals and nursing homes (Thomas, 2001). Patients who develop a pressure ulcer within six weeks of admission to an acute-care facility are three times more likely to die than patients who do not develop pressure ulcers (Thomas, 2001). Moreover, patients who develop a pressure ulcer within three months of admission to a long-term care facility are associated with a 92% mortality rate compared with a 4% mortality rate for patients who do not develop them (Thomas, 2001). This evidence alone shows how significant this problem is to the overall health status of patients. In my personal nursing experience, I have heard many complaints voiced from patients and their family members concerning the development of new pressure ulcers. Patients and family members have expressed dissatisfaction because of the increased stress and prolonged hospital stay often associated with the treatment of pressure ulcers. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee created six “Aims for Improvement” that healthcare should embrace in
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