Health bosses on Wearside have launched a scheme to raise awareness of the dangers that bed sores can cause.
Sunderland CARE Academy, which is a collaboration of partners from health, education, social care and the voluntary sector, has launched a PROACT, to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of pressure ulcers with the public.
Pressure ulcers cost the NHS up to £4billion a year and can cause long term pain and distress for patients.
Landmarks across Sunderland were lit up in red ahead of the launch in support of the national pressure ulcer prevention campaign, React to Red, on World Stop the Pressure Day last month.
NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group’s Ann Fox, executive director of Nursing, Quality and Safety, said: “It is estimated that just under half a million people in the UK will develop at least one pressure ulcer, in any given year. “Recognising and being aware the signs and symptoms of pressure ulcers is key to preventing this painful condition.
“In many cases, pressure ulcers are often preventable.”
Ralph Boutflower, Tissue Viability Specialist Practitioner at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our hospitals have seen big improvements in reducing pressure ulcers, but the big challenge we have at the moment is people who develop pressure ulcers either in care settings or in their own homes.”
Sunderland University’s Dr Yitka Graham said: “PROACT aims to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of pressure ulcers and provide staff with the skills to make sure we prevent people suffering unnecessarily.
“Pressure ulcers can be life threatening and have a devastating impact on patients and their families but they are preventable.
“The PROACT team will work together to prevent pressure ulcers by raising awareness with the public and within the wide range of care settings across Sunderland.”
Ahead of the PROACT launch, health and care professionals gathered at a frailty conference in Sunderland to support the national campaign and commit to attending a series of PROACT awareness and educational meetings and events.
A separate arm of educational sessions will be held with staff working in care homes.
Ms Fox added: “This is an issue all year round and it can often be prevented by following simple actions.
“PROACT will help us identify the prevalence of pressure ulcers in care settings and help us assess what work we can do to increase prevention.”
Ways of preventing ulcers developing include eating a well-balanced diet and drinking plenty fluids, keeping moving while in a bed or chair and checking regularly that skin isn’t discoloured.
More about PROACT is available at www.sunderlandccg.nhs.uk/proact.