Sunderland CCG News

Care worker training aims to take the pressure off patients

Thu 04th October 2018

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A new one-day training course, specially designed for care staff in Sunderland, is helping care workers to identify and prevent pressure ulcers.

The training is part of a Sunderland-wide research project called PROACT, which aims to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of pressure ulcers in health and social care settings, and with the public.

Sunderland CARE Academy, a collaboration of partners from health, social care, education and the voluntary sector, have been working closely with care workers in Sunderland to deliver free training on skin care and pressure ulcer prevention and management in care homes across the city

Pressure ulcers, also known as pressure sores or bedsores, are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue that are primarily caused by prolonged pressure on the skin. They can happen to anyone, but usually affect people confined to bed or who sit in a chair or wheelchair for long periods of time.

Delivered in care homes, the training focuses on:

  • Understanding and identifying the risk of pressure damage
  • Pressure ulcer prevention
  • How/when to escalate and to who
  • How to effectively communicate the knowledge around pressure damage prevention to colleagues and the public

Once a care worker has completed the training, they will become ‘pressure ulcer champions’ within their own organisations. Pressure ulcer champions will be tasked with encouraging co-workers and patients’ relatives to make a positive difference to reduce the risk from pressure damage.

Ann Fox, Director of Nursing, Quality and Safety at NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, and Visiting Professor at the University of Sunderland, said: “It is estimated that just under half a million people in the UK will develop at least one pressure ulcer, in any given year.

“In many cases, pressure ulcers are often preventable, so recognising and being aware of the signs and symptoms of pressure ulcers is key to preventing this painful condition.

“This training initiative is a great example of how the CARE Academy is collaborating with all partners and the public to improve care delivery across Sunderland.

“By educating frontline staff, patients and their families and carers and showing them what interventions can be put in place, they will be better equipped to prevent pressure ulcers from developing in the first place.”

Professor Tony Alabaster, Academic Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing at the University of Sunderland stated: “PROACT is an excellent example of how academic research can have a positive impact on patients’ health and wellbeing. The CARE Academy partners are committed to working together for the benefit of patients, public, clinicians and those working in health and social care”.

Angela Richardson, Network Development Officer at Sunderland Tyne and Wear Care Alliance, said: “We want to develop strong leaders who will be supported to drive their workplaces’ pressure prevention strategy and improve care for the people they support.

“This initiative equips staff to cascade knowledge around pressure ulcer prevention to their peers. We believe that by teaching key care staff how to do something, instead of just doing it for them, is more helpful to them and the organisation they work for in the long run.”

Emma Openshaw, Tissue Viability Nurse at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This training will be very beneficial for local care workers and equip them with the skills and confidence to identify areas of skin damage that could potentially lead to pressure ulceration.

“We want our pressure ulcer champions to gain from the mentoring and support that our specialist team can offer. This encourages more collaboration between independent community care and the NHS and provides a network of support that places the needs of the patients at its very heart.”

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