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Pressure Injury

A pressure injury, sometimes called a "bed sore", is an area of skin damage caused by pressure or a medical device that can result in an open wound. Pressure injuries often occur in areas with bony prominences, like hip bones, but they occur in other areas as well.

Historically, it was believed that pediatric patients did not get pressure injuries. However, children can in fact get pressure injuries. Pressure injuries can increase the risk of infection and other complications which may lead to longer hospitalizations and higher health care costs.

Pressure injuries remain a significant problem despite efforts at reducing their prevalence. According to studies of pediatric patients, the risk was found to be as high as 27 percent in critical-care areas like the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. More than half of these injuries can be attributed to medical devices or equipment (i.e. mask or intubation tube) that is applied to the patient’s skin.

Pressure injuries are staged according to the seriousness of the injury to the skin. A stage 1 pressure injury is redness on the skin with no open wound. When identification occurs quickly and appropriate interventions to reduce the pressure are performed, stage 1 injuries can often be stopped from worsening. As pressure injuries increase in severity, so does the stage; additional pressure injury stages include stage 2, stage 3, stage 4, Deep tissue injury and Unstageable.

Some pressure injuries are unavoidable. Some are preventable. Children’s Mercy is committed to patient safety by focusing on all pressure injuries with a goal to reduce or eliminate preventable pressure injuries and minimize complications from others.

Who is impacted?

All patients are at risk, but those who have lengthy surgeries and/or multiple medical devices are at higher risk.

All parents and caregivers can help by watching for areas of redness or other skin injury on their children and bringing it to the attention of staff. Helpful links are provided below for more information about pressure injuries and their prevention.

All Children’s Mercy staff members are included in the safety culture that focuses on prevention of harm to patients.

What does this all mean?

Children’s Mercy is committed to reduce the incidence of pressure injuries. Measures have been taken to improve processes and patient care to eliminate pressure injuries and avoid harm. With recognition as a Magnet Hospital for nursing excellence, as well as participation with both the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI) and the Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety, there is a strong focus and awareness which equips Children’s Mercy to identify and treat pressure injuries when they arise and work towards prevention of these injuries entirely.

Serious Harm Pressure Injury graph

Access a text-only version of the Serious Harm Pressure Injury graph above.