2008-04-25 / Community

St. John's Episcopal Hospital Sets Pressure Ulcer Initiative

The members of the skin care team making rounds included (from left to right): Ruthie Pruitt, patient care assistant; Issac Motamarry, medical student; Pam Reilly, RN, MSN, CWOCN; Jason Joseph, medical student; Hermelina Zabala, MA, RN, Nurse Manager; David Wong, DPM, wound care fellow; and Terry Bradley, RN. The members of the skin care team making rounds included (from left to right): Ruthie Pruitt, patient care assistant; Issac Motamarry, medical student; Pam Reilly, RN, MSN, CWOCN; Jason Joseph, medical student; Hermelina Zabala, MA, RN, Nurse Manager; David Wong, DPM, wound care fellow; and Terry Bradley, RN. The nurses of the Pulmonary Care Center at St. John's Episcopal Hospital have launched an initiative to reduce pressure ulcers. According to Hermelina Zabala, MA, RN, Nurse Manager of the Pulmonary Care Center at St. John's, pressure ulcers are visible evidence of pathologic changes in the blood supply to skin. "They develop when this soft tissue is compressed between a bony prominence and an external surface for a prolonged period of time," she added.

The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations made the prevention of pressure ulcers one of its National Patient Safety Goals in 2007. The Joint Commission is a national accrediting organization for hospitals. St. John's has Joint Commission accreditation and has worked diligently to incorporate the National Patient Safety Goals in daily patient care.

Zabala and Gwen Pinckney, RN, Administrative Supervisor, spearheaded the development of the St. John's Interdisciplinary Skin Care Team. Gilbert Makabali, MD, Chairman, Department of Surgery; and Lloyd Bardfeld, DPM, Chief of Podiatry, have supported the team effort by providing education to the staff, as well as physician support. The Pulmonary Care Center team welcomes the team initiative with enthusiasm. The interdisciplinary team consists of representatives from the nursing and medical staff, and nutritionists, among others.

The purpose of the interdisciplinary skin care rounds is to collaboratively ensure that the skin care component of the patient's management plan is consistent with pressure relief, nutritional support and local care. The goal of this team is to decrease the occurrence of hospital-acquired ulcers, promote healing of existing ulcers present upon admission, and maintain skin integrity.

The skin care initiative is just one of the many ways St. John's Episcopal Hospital is working to improve the quality of patient care. The hospital is dedicated to providing patient-centered care, including patient rounding and patient satisfaction surveys.

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