Attending the Academy for Emerging Leaders in Patient Safety is important to me because I want to increase my knowledge and skills to become a leader in the healthcare industry to improve the safety of my patients, and subsequently their healthcare outcomes. Recently I conducted an evaluation on the pressure injury prevention program on the cardiac/telemetry unit that I work on located in Jackson, Mississippi at St. Dominic Hospital.
The prevention of pressure injuries is of great concern in healthcare today. A hospital-acquired pressure injury is defined as a localized injury to the skin or underlying tissue that develops during an inpatient hospital stay. In the United States, more than 2.5 million people develop pressure injuries annually. Approximately 60,000 of these patients die as a direct result of a pressure injury each year. According to the Joint Commission, even though this is a potentially avoidable condition, preventing pressure injuries has always been a challenge for the healthcare industry because the epidemiology varies by clinical setting. Pressure injuries can interfere with the patient’s functional recovery, cause severe pain and infection, and contribute to longer hospital stays. On average, the presence or development of a pressure injury increases the patient’s length of stay in a hospital by 10.8 days. As a result, these extended hospitalizations are associated with increased pain, suffering, and cost to the healthcare system.
Treatment for pressure injuries is costly; however, the development of pressure injuries can be prevented using evidence-based nursing practices. The Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Program was established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and encourages hospitals to improve patient safety by implementing best practices to reduce the rates of pressure injuries associated with healthcare. By investing in quality improvement of prevention, early detection, and care for pressure injuries, healthcare organizations can help to avoid these injuries and subsequent costs.
This evaluation of the pressure injury prevention program experience illuminated the numerous obstacles that can exist for healthcare workers when trying to promote patient safety if the healthcare organization does not act adequately. However, by taking a leadership role in this project using surveys and focus groups to gain staff feedback, we have been able to drastically reduce pressure injuries on our unit and increase patient safety by implementing the changes suggested by the unit staff, as well as feedback from the quality department. Seeing this improved outcome has inspired me to find more ways to become involved and further improve patient safety, and I believe that attending the Academy for Emerging Leaders in Patient Safety will be a great way to achieve this.