Virginia Mason’s Hospital Team Reduces Bedsores and Costs

Hospital-acquired pressure ulcers (HAPU), commonly known as bedsores, are increasingly common in hospitalized patients. To address this issue at Virginia Mason, the Zero Hospital-Acquired Pressure Ulcers team was established. The team reviewed guidance materials and brainstormed how to improve the HAPU program already in place at VM. They used the tools of the Virginia Mason Production System. They streamlined the display of the wound/skin assessment forms on the electronic medical record so a patient’s skin status is more apparent. VM recently celebrated 298 days since its last incidence of Stage 3-4 HAPU (the most serious form of bedsore), and their work met the Leapfrog Group’s high standards for reducing preventable medical errors in hospitals.


Virginia Mason’s Hospital Team Reduces Bedsores and Costs

Despite great technological and pharmacological leaps in health care in recent years, hospitals continue to struggle with the problem of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers (HAPU), commonly known as bedsores. These wounds are increasingly common in hospitalized patients, with approximately 600,000 acute care patients dying each year of HAPU complications at an estimated cost of $11 billion.

To address this issue at Virginia Mason, the Zero Hospital-Acquired Pressure Ulcers team was established. The need to reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers at Virginia Mason Hospital was clear. In 2007, the organization reported five Stage 3-4 HAPUs (the most serious type) to the Washington State Department of Health and treated many more Stage 1-2 HAPU with expensive therapies and extra days of hospitalization. The work began in the highest-risk setting for HAPU, the Critical Care Unit. The team implemented a systematic approach to identifying patients at risk of developing HAPU and established standard actions for at-risk patients. As these standards proved successful they were spread to other units. As a result, VM now stands in the top-performing group nationally for averting HAPU injuries.

How it was done.The team began by reviewing guidance materials from national groups and brainstormed how to improve the HAPU program already in place at VM. They used the tools of the Virginia Mason Production System. They streamlined the display of the wound/skin assessment forms on the electronic medical record (Cerner) so that a patient’s skin status is more apparent, which helps staff more easily identify at-risk patients who need more frequent position changes and meticulous skin care.

The team’s key strategy focused on enhancing the inspection process of patients. Inspection can lead to early, preventive action such as implementing a SKIN bundle (Surface, Keep turning, Incontinence, Nutrition) or asking for help from a wound/skin expert. In addition to developing all nurses’ HAPU-prevention competencies, the team also made advanced wound expertise more readily available on units. VM recently celebrated 298 days since its last Stage 3-4 HAPU.

Keywords: Bedsores, care teams, costs of HAPU, Cerner CPOE, Critical Care Unit, electronic medical record, EMR, hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, HAPU, Leapfrog Group, preventable medical error, skin inspection, Stage 3-4 HAPU, value, Virginia Mason Production System

For More Information:

Michelle Peterson
Director, Communications and Public Relations
Virginia Mason Medical Center
100 Ninth Ave, MS GB-ADM
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 583-6581
michelle.peterson@vmmc.org
http://www.VirginiaMason.org/

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