Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center To Participate In Agency For Healthcare Research And Quality(AHRQ) Project For The Prevention Of Pressure Ulcers

NORFOLK, Va., Apr. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Fifteen percent of acute-care patients develop pressure ulcers.  This can result in longer hospital stays, greater likelihood of a readmission within 30 days of discharge, and higher rates of patient discharge from hospitals into institutional or long-term care facilities instead of back into the community. Pressure ulcers can greatly impact a patients' quality of life.

Pressure ulcers (PUs) are serious hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) that each year cost billions of dollars to treat.  As a result, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) no longer pays the costs associated with treatment of a stage III or IV pressure ulcer acquired in the hospital.  With those statistics in mind, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is leading a patient safety initiative to reduce the incidence of falls and pressure ulcers in hospital settings.            

Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center is one of only ten hospitals in the US that has applied for and has been selected to participate in the pressure ulcers segment of the federal program.  The AHRQ sought out a diverse population of hospitals that included bed size, type of institution (community hospital, teaching hospital, etc.) geographic location, patient population mix, profit status and hospital system size. 

"As a NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) designated hospital, we know that patients who develop pressure ulcers are often older adults, with more fragile, thinner and less elastic skin than younger adults.  That combination makes them more vulnerable to skin damage and more susceptible to developing pressure ulcers." says Michael Bratton, RN, MA, chief nursing executive for Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center.   "In addition, other patients we care for, such as patients in poor general health or with other co-morbidities such as diabetes and poor circulation are also at risk.  Our goal is to help everyone in our care to prevent and avoid the complications associated with pressure ulcers."  

The training focuses on staff training and education, prevention, implementing practices, sustaining best practices efforts and measuring progress of pressure ulcer rates.  "Bon Secours DePaul was selected for its leadership support of the project, its commitment to developing a multidisciplinary team to drive results, and the overall medical center's desire to improve patient outcomes,"  says Liana Orsolini, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN, Bon Secours Center for Clinical Excellence and Innovation. "This is a clear example of being good help to the community they serve."

Diane Whitworth, BSN, RN, CWOCN, coordinator  of wound care services and chair of the Pressure Ulcer Prevention Committee of the Nursing Sensitive Conditions Learning Community states, "I look forward to working with this team and to taking the best practices learned in this effort to improve the care we provide thoughout our health system." 

The two-year program offers assistance to health systems in navigating through the organization process of change while improving the pressure ulcer prevention practices.  As a part of participation, the AHRQ program will assign two quality improvement specialists who will provide training and ongoing technical assistance during the implementation and sustainment phases. 

The training and preparations phases of the AHRQ program started in early March; the implementation phase is expected to occur over a 10-month period. Participating organizations will then demonstrate sustained changes for a year before completing their program. 

Lynne B. Zultanky, MS, RT

Administrative Director, Marketing and Public Relations

Phone: 757-889-5411; Pager 757-680-3296

Media Contact:Margaret Moseley, Bon Secours Health System, 410-442-3223,

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SOURCE Bon Secours Health System

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