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Skin Savers Program: Lowering the Incidence of Pressure Ulcers

What are we looking to improve?
While Mount Sinai Beth Israel has had a program in place to prevent pressure ulcers, there has been limited communication between nurses and patient care associates (PCAs), which has created gaps in consistent delivery of bedside interventions. Through our initiative, we want to develop unit-based teams of nurses and PCAs as resources for pressure-ulcer prevention, increase bedside staff participation in unit-based quality improvement related to pressure ulcers, and decrease the occurrence of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers.

What strategies/measures have we implemented for improvement?
Wound, ostomy and continence nurse practitioners evaluated existing equipment and products for pressure-ulcer prevention, along with policies, protocols and staff education. They ultimately developed the Skin Savers Program, an all-day team-building, educational workshop to foster a collaborative approach to care that both increases staff satisfaction and improves clinical outcomes. Nurse managers select RNs and PCAs to participate in the workshop (held quarterly), and they return to their units as experts in pressure-ulcer prevention.

What have we accomplished to date?
Hundreds of staff have received Skin Saver designation to date, leading to improved collaboration and communication, as well as heightened awareness of skin injury prevention among team members, patients and families. Additionally, unit-based pressure ulcer prevention initiatives have been implemented, including unit-based diaper-free environments, leading to decreased incontinence-related skin breakdown. The programís success has been substantiated further by 2009 data that shows sustained low rates for hospital-acquired pressure ulcers at both BI campuses.

What are our future plans?
Training and workshops are ongoing.

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