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Assess patients for pressure ulcers within six hours of admission

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has published quality standards covering the prevention, assessment and management of pressure ulcers

Patients admitted to hospital or a care home with nursing should have a pressure ulcer risk assessment within six hours of admission, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has said.

The requirement is one of nine NICE ‘quality statements’ on good practice relating to the prevention, assessment and management of pressure ulcers published this week. 

The guidelines also state that community nursing services should assess people at a first face-to-face visit if they have a risk factor for developing pressure ulcers

People at high risk of developing pressure ulcers must be given a skin assessment and should be provided with pressure redistribution devices such as special mattresses. In addition, health and social care professionals should help people change their lying or sitting position if they are ‘unable to reposition themselves’.

Una Adderley, a lecturer in community nursing at the University of Leeds and trustee of the Tissue Viability Society, said: ‘The statements represent sound clinical practice, but it must be remembered that they are just guidelines. Regarding the six-hour target, there may be exceptions when patients have other clinical needs that should be prioritised. For example, this could be if they need emergency surgery on admission.’

Click here to read NICE's quality statements on pressure ulcer prevention

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