Hospitals in South Tyneside and Sunderland have set themselves the target of reducing avoidable pressure ulcers by 25% over the next two years.
The target is central to South Tyneside and Sunderland Healthcare Group’s joint pressure ulcer improvement plan and the vast majority of mattresses at South Tyneside District Hospital have been replaced.
The new mattresses, which had already been successfully introduced at Sunderland Royal Hospital, come with a pump which can be used to turn them into pressure-relieving air beds - meaning patients who develop pressure ulcers do not need to be moved to a different bed.
This is particularly important for the comfort and care of the seriously ill and palliative patients.
South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust will invest £115,000 over five years in the new mattresses - which will generate a saving of £136,000 a
year. The money will be reinvested in patient care.
Pressure ulcers - also known as pressure sores or bedsores - are injuries to the skin and underlying tissues and tend to affect people confined to bed or who sit in a chair or wheelchair for long periods of time without moving or being repositioned.
Melanie Johnson, executive director of nursing and patient experience at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Prevention of pressure ulcers is of tremendous importance to both the patient and the NHS and is one of the quality improvement priorities for our trusts’ working alliance.
“They can also lead to an increased length of hospital stay and increased treatment costs in both hospital and the community.”