A pressure ulcer, sometimes called a "bed sore," is an area of skin damage caused by pressure that can result in an open wound. Most commonly, people think of these in areas of bony prominences, like hip bones, but they occur in other areas as well.
For many years, it was thought that pediatric patients did not get pressure ulcers, but children can get pressure ulcers. Pressure ulcers can increase the risk of infection and other complications which may lead to longer hospitalization and higher health care costs.
Pressure ulcers remain a significant problem despite efforts at reducing their prevalence. According to studies, the scope of the problem among pediatric patients was found to be as high as 27 percent in high-risk areas like the Pediatric Intensive Care Units. More than half of these can be attributed to devices or equipment that hospital staff applies to the patient’s skin like a mask or intubation tube.
Pressure ulcers are given a stage according to the seriousness of the injury to the skin. A stage 1 pressure ulcer is just redness on the skin with no open wound. When we find them at this stage and take measures to reduce the pressure, we can prevent them from becoming worse. The other stages are stage 2, stage 3, stage 4, Deep tissue injury and Unstageable.
Some pressure ulcers are unavoidable. Some are preventable. Children’s Mercy shows its commitment to patient safety by focusing on pressure ulcers. Our goal is to reduce or eliminate those that are preventable and to minimize complications from those that are not.
Who is impacted?
All patients are at some risk, but patients who have lengthy surgeries and/or many devices are at higher risk.
All parents and caregivers can help us by watching for areas of redness or other skin injury on their children and bringing it to the attention of staff. You can use the links below for more information about pressure ulcers and their prevention.
All Children’s Mercy staff members are included in the safety culture that focuses on prevention of harm to our patients.
What does all this mean?
Children’s Mercy is taking measures to improve processes and patient care to eliminate pressure ulcers. Because we are more focused and aware of the problem, we have actually seen an increase in our overall numbers over the last couple of years. With continued efforts and education, we expect the number of pressure ulcers to decline.
What do the most important people say?
Pressure Ulcer prevention is important to avoid harm. We are committed to reducing the incidence of pressure ulcers. This is reflected in our commitment to being recognized as a Magnet Hospital for nursing excellence, as well as our participation with both the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI) and the Ohio Children’s Hospitals Solutions for Patient Safety (OCHSPS).
Where can I go for more information?
National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel:
Patient Care Links: