Pressure Injuries

A pressure injury is an area of skin damage, such as a wound, sore or ulcer, or an area of persistent reddening, caused by direct pressure on the skin. This can sometimes occur when a patient is in one position and unable to move easily for a long period, although not every patient is at risk. Pressure injuries can range in severity from an area of reddened but intact skin to broken skin, which may involve varying degrees of underlying tissue damage.

Pressure injuries frequently prolong or complicate hospital stays. At Flinders Private Hospital we document and investigate every case and take action to reduce the number of pressure injuries that occur.

When patients are admitted to hospital, an assessment is performed of the skin to determine if any pressure injuries already exist and also to decide whether the patient is at risk of developing a pressure injury. Patients that may be at risk are those that:

  • are bedbound
  • have sensitive skin 
  • have poor nutrition 
  • are older 
  • are taking certain medications, or 
  • have chronic illnesses such as diabetes or anaemia.

Our hospitals have many strategies in place to prevent pressure injuries developing. If a pressure injury develops, the hospital staff do everything they can to help it heal as soon as possible.
One of the ways of monitoring the success of our prevention strategies is to check whether any patients have developed pressure injuries in hospital.

This graph shows the number patients at Flinders Private Hospital that have developed a pressure injury during their admission to hospital. The rate for the past 3 years is shown in the pink bars. This is compared to the rate of pressure injuries in other Australian hospitals (the grey bar). The graph shows that patients at Flinders Private Hospital are less likely to develop a pressure injury compared to other Australian hospitals.

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, a patient does develop a pressure injury - however we aim to minimise this number.

What we are doing to reduce pressure injuries

  • A risk assessment is performed to identify patient that are vulnerable to pressure injuries
  • Patients identified as ‘high risk’ are referred to the dietitian for nutritional assessment and advice 
  • Pressure relieving devices are used. These include specialised mattresses, cushions, wedges, , contoured or textured foam supports, heel elevators and gel-filled supports. 
  • Preventing exposure to excessive moisture or dryness 
  • Positioning: Regularly changing the position of the patient and encouraging walking or movement if possible 
  • Individual reporting: Examining each case of pressure injuries to determine why it occurred and how to prevent this happening again
  • Education for nursing staff in pressure injury identification, prevention and management 
  • Patient education provided on pressure injury prevention at pre admission and or admission 
  • Referral to a wound management consultant in the event of a pressure injury developing or if admitted with a pressure injury


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