Members of the New Jersey Hospital Association's (NJHA) Pressure Ulcer Collaborative have reported a 70% reduction in the incidence of new pressure ulcers after nearly 2 years of applying shared best practices and preventive techniques. Nearly 400 attendees gathered in Princeton, NJ, in July 2007, for the NJHA's third learning session of its Pressure Ulcer Collaborative. The NJHA Collaborative, which is comprised of 150 acute care and specialty hospitals, nursing homes, and home care agencies, first met 2 years ago to develop and share standardized assessment and preventive strategies. The 70% reduction in the incidence of pressure ulcers was reported from data that were tracked from September 2005 through May 2007.
The NJHA's initial goal of the collaborative was to reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers by 25%, making the 70% reduction an outstanding success, according to NJHA officials. Of the 150 organizations participating in the collaborative, 48 reported that no new pressure ulcers were documented for a period of 3 months or more. In addition, data presented at the July meeting showed that the prevalence of existing pressure ulcers was reduced by 30% as patients transferred from one care setting to another.
"The results show that we were able to achieve measurable, significant improvement in the quality of care provided to patients with respect to pressure ulcer prevention across care settings," said Aline Holmes, RN, NJHA Senior Vice President of Clinical Affairs. "When caregivers communicate and work together, they can learn from each other and improve patient outcomes."
Among the prevention improvement techniques used by staff at hospitals, nursing homes, and home care settings were complete skin evaluation within 8 hours of admission; evaluation of the risk of skin breakdown using the Braden scale; implementation of preventive strategies, such as proper positioning and use of assistive devices; and ongoing observation of the condition of the patients' skin, especially those identified as being at high risk for pressure ulcers.
The participating organizations met regularly for education and information sharing sessions with nationally recognized experts in the field, hosted by the NJHA, and then shared that information with their own wound care teams. The Collaborative is expected to continue sharing data and gathering results during the fall of 2007.
"Improved collaboration and teamwork between health care professional across various settings allowed for more seamless transitions in care, as patients moved across different care settings," said Theresa Edelstein, MPH, LNHA, and NJHA Vice President of Continuing Care Services. "This give-and-take was a huge part of the project's success."
Collaborative team leaders in attendance at the NJHA meeting led a panel discussion of their efforts during the past 2 years. Following the discussions, numerous participants received awards for their achievements during the NJHA Collaborative project. In addition, all meeting attendees received a book titled, "Partners in Prevention: The NJHA Collaborative to Reduce the Incidence of Pressure Ulcers," which chronicled the experiences of participating organizations.