PPE pressure injuries surge during COVID outbreaks
The peak body for wound prevention and management, Wounds Australia, has warned the latest COVID-19 outbreaks have led to a resurgence in reports of pressure injuries among patients, clinicians and essential workers.
Speaking on Day Four of Wound Awareness Week (23–29 August), Wounds Australia Chair Hayley Ryan said pressure injuries among healthcare workers relate to wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). Some patients also had facial pressure injuries from wearing ventilators to manage respiratory failure.
“Device-related pressure injuries are commonly associated with the intensive or sustained use of medical devices on patients. This can result in compression and deformation of the skin and subsequent injury,” Ryan said.
Wounds Australia has consistently raised study results from 2016 that found over one-quarter of hospital patients suffered from device-related pressure injuries, and that some clinicians were unaware of the implications of medical devices in contact with the skin.1
“With heightened and extended use of PPE and devices for protection and treatment, Wound Awareness Week 2021 is being used as an opportunity to inform and educate frontline workers about how they can protect and treat themselves and patients from these complications,” Ryan said.
“While Wound Awareness Week has always been a time for highlighting warning signs and risk factors for chronic wounds, the coronavirus pandemic is adding a new element to our public health campaign and professional development.”
Ryan urged all healthcare workers to use Wounds Australia as a resource for developing their wound care expertise, including preventing their own pressure injuries.
“Wounds Australia represents and provides education for anyone with an interest in wound care, regardless of your specific profession,” she said. “This Wound Awareness Week is the perfect opportunity to join our organisation so you can enhance your skills and knowledge, while strengthening our numbers to drive reform in government policies and programs that lead to better patient care and outcomes.”
- Barakat-Johnson, M., Barnett, C., Wand, T., and White, K. 2017. ‘Medical device-related pressure injuries: An exploratory descriptive study in an acute tertiary hospital in Australia’, Journal of Tissue Viability, Nov 26(4), pp. 246-253. doi: 10.1016/j.jtv.2017.09.008, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29050901
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