A simple-to-use ‘pink dot’ system that could potentially help save thousands of patients across the country from the misery of pressure ulcers – sometimes known as bed sores - has been unveiled by specialist nurses at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn (QEH) and may be adopted in hospitals throughout the region.
The innovation has been introduced as a pilot scheme on Stanhoe ward, where magnetic pink ‘dots’ are used on a wall-mounted patient information board to identify patients either suffering from, or at risk of developing, pressure ulcers.
Hospitals across the East of England and Midlands have been set a challenge by NHS Midlands and East Director of Nursing (and former QEH Chief Exec) Dr Ruth May to eradicate all hospital-acquired pressure ulcers by the end of the year.
Led by the QEH Patient Safety team and Tissue Viability nurses, the campaign is already demonstrating some successes. Delegates from across the NHS region attended a recent meeting of the Pressure Ulcer Collaborative in Newmarket, where they shared ideas.
QEH Practice Development Nurse Julia Saunders said: “The original thinking was that pink is close to skin colour so there would be a very clear visual reminder to nursing staff that a particular patient needs special attention to be turned or encouraged to be moving regularly.
“The idea was well received at the meeting and nurses from many other hospitals said they plan to introduce it in future.”
The pilot scheme on Stanhoe ward involves a multi-disciplinary approach, with the idea that preventing pressure ulcers “is everyone’s business”. The ward team meets every Tuesday for a team ‘huddle’, when progress is discussed, to discover what has worked well and what needs improvement.
The pink dot system is used alongside the existing blue dot method of identifying patients with hydration needs, and complements the use of inflatable beds as one of the practical ways of avoiding pressure ulcers.
Richard Humphries, for The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Trust