Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Lesson On Pressure Ulcers and Split Pea Soup

So I decided to bring in some split pea and barley soup from California Pizza Kitchen (low fat only 240 calories for those of you watching your health) for my lunch. I think one thing that always pops up in people's minds when thinking about split pea soup (for those born before 1973) is the famous scene in the Exorcist. Watch the movie for more details. Or don't. It's really scary.
While I was taking the soup over to the microwave, it slipped and splashed all over the carpet (and my suit). I did my best to clean it up only to notice that today, the stain was back on the carpet.
This incident reminded me of a demonstration we saw last week on bed pads when Kevin, our Regional Director of EVS & Linen literally started pouring water over three types of pads.

Kevin shared the following:

Improved Outcomes:

This initiative will provide for enhanced patient care, providing much greater comfort, and a reduction of patient skin care issues; pressure ulcers, likely to occur anytime when a patient is confined to bed care over an extended period of time, usually greater than (4) days.

Improved Comfort:

Through an actual demonstration it was clearly observed that the current linen bed pads only puddle the void a patient may have due to incontinence. The comfort of the patient is greatly compromised in view of this void not being absorbed by the linen bed pad.

This same demonstration revealed how the proposed disposable linen bed pad totally absorbs the void of the patient, allowing the patient to remain in a comfortable state until this pad can be changed.

Further, a positive micro climate is created by the disposable bed pad due to the air flow that is able to reach the patients skin. The current linen bed pad does not have this air permeability, and a condition is created where by the patients skin is susceptible to sores, (Pressure Ulcers) promoted by the bacteria growth that is conducive to the climate that is created by the linen bed pad.

This same linen bed pad too creates various pressure points to the patients skin do to the thickness of the material, these pressure points exacerbating or causing current skin sores or pressure ulcers, where these points of pressure are meeting the patient’s skin.

Improved End of Life Care:

All of these issues are even more prevalent concerning end of life stays, as the patient in these cases has been confined to total bed care for an extended period of time; during these final days, we owe it to our patients and their families to further provide as comfortable an environment as possible, and too, their family can clearly see and be at peace that we are providing for this need. As described, the linen bed pads clearly inhibit this goal.


From a cost standpoint, the initial costs of these disposable bed pads will be absorbed through the reduction in linen bed replacement and laundering. In addition, hospitals would reduce the costs associated with treating stage 1 & 2 pressure ulcers. It is worth noting that the average hospital spends between $400,000 to $700,000 in direct costs to treat pressure ulcers.

This is a great example of improving the care to our patients in a cost effective manner. Thank you Kevin and our nursing departments for your guidance and demonstration in making SJMC a better place for patients.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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