365 days without a pressure ulcer: Congrats to Neuro ICU!

November 18, 2015  //  FOUND IN: Announcements, Updates & Resources,

Congratulations to our Neurosurgical Intensive Care unit on 4D for going more than a year without a unit acquired pressure ulcer. By preventing this common condition among our patients, the team has raised the bar even higher on patient care and safety.

Neuro ICU received the “365 Days of Safety Award” from Jeff Desmond, M.D., interim chief medical officer and Marge Calarco, Ph.D., RN, senior associate director and chief of nursing services.

“It’s rewarding to see yet another team display such a commitment to patient safety,” says Calarco.

“Our Neuro ICU is leading the way for all of us to do better in protecting our patients and providing the best care possible,” adds Desmond.


What’s a pressure ulcer?
Pressure ulcers are injuries to the skin or underlying tissue from pressure or friction. They occur when patients lie down for long periods of time and are unable to change positions. Pressure ulcers can be serious if not treated quickly, causing skin and muscle damage, infection or pain.

Patients in the hospital often have a variety of tubes, drains and other healthcare equipment that can also cause pressure ulcers.

“Sometimes it can be very difficult to prevent pressure ulcers for patients,” says Cinda Loik, RN, BSN, MBA, nurse manager on 4D. “Any device we use on them can potentially cause a pressure ulcer.”

Raising Awareness and Increasing Mobility: 
The NICU’s Unit Based Committee worked to raise awareness in the unit about how to prevent ulcers from immobility and medical devices. They also reviewed every pressure ulcer and determined ways that it could have prevented.

In addition, the team launched an Early Mobility Program last year for all patients. The program helps patients increase activity early in their hospital stay to help reduce their overall length of stay at the hospital.

These interventions include everything from working with a patient to increase their range of motion, placing their bed in a chair position, sitting the patient up at the bedside, helping them to sit up in a chair, and having them walk in the unit.

Additional benefits of the Early Mobility Program include:

  • Decreased hospital acquired infections
  • Decreased complications of immobility
  • Decreased falls
  • Higher quality of life for patients

“Repositioning and mobilizing patients cannot be done alone,” says Loik. “It takes a culture of teamwork to accomplish excellent patient care outcomes.The NICU has always has always had this culture of teamwork.