Health leaders on Wearside are calling on local organisations to help patients avoid painful pressure ulcers through special events to raise awareness.
Pressure ulcers – also known as pressure sores or bedsores – are extremely painful injuries to skin and underlying tissue, with people who spend long periods in bed or sitting still particularly at risk.
Every year, around 700,000 people in the UK develop pressure ulcers, with the painful condition often taking months or years to heal and costing the NHS millions every day.
But action to spot the risks earlier could save hundreds of Wearsiders from this painful experience every year, say NHS leaders.
On 15 November, local organisations including the NHS, Sunderland University and Sunderland Carers’ Centre will host coffee mornings to help raise awareness of how to prevent pressure ulcers.
Yitka Graham, Senior Lecturer in Health Services and NHS Engagement at the University of Sunderland, said: “Pressure ulcers can often be prevented, if family members and staff in caring roles know how to recognise the signs early on.
“Almost 300 people have already taken part in our PROACT project, which helps people feel much more confident about spotting symptoms early so that preventive action can be taken. This is already having a real impact on people’s lives here in Sunderland – but we know we can do more.
“By taking part in coffee mornings on Stop Pressure Ulcers Day, health and care organisations can make a real difference to people’s health and wellbeing.”
This event is part of the Sunderland-wide PROACT research project, which is providing education on recognising the signs and symptoms of pressure ulcers to staff working in care homes, domiciliary care and people who care for family members or friends in more informal settings.
Groups taking part will be offered event starter packs including recipe cards, table cloths and other decorations to make a truly memorable occasion.
Ann Fox, Director of Nursing, Quality and Safety at NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and Visiting Professor at the University of Sunderland, said: “The NHS spends around £3.8 million every day on treating pressure ulcers, with thousands of patients facing a painful condition as well as increased risk of further medical complications.
“We hope that this event will encourage patients, families and carers to help patients get up and moving if they can, and learn more about how to prevent pressure ulcers.”
The project is supported by Sunderland CARE Academy, a group of organisations from health, social care, education and the voluntary sector working together to improve the quality of care across the city.
CARE Academy partners include City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, University of Sunderland, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, Sunderland Carers Centre, Sunderland Care and Support, Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Patient and Carer Involvement (PCPI) members.