From June 2017 to June 2018, Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, New Jersey, reported 36 hospital-acquired pressure injuries (HAPIs) on its telemetry unit—the highest HAPI incidence rate of any unit at the 150-bed medical center.
Common areas of pressure injuries were the buttocks, sacrum, coccyx, hip, thoracic spine and heels. Most incidences were on buttock areas, followed by sacrum and coccyx areas.
Fast-forward to today. Replacing pillows used for patient turning, and offloading with Comfort Glide Wedges, have led to positive results. After adopting the foam wedges, staff report fewer HAPIs in the 38-bed unit and have more time to dedicate to their patients. This success led to implementing foam wedges in other hospital units.
Before implementation, the staff positioned patients with pillows, says Kathy Armstrong, BSN, RN-BC, wound nurse specialist at Bayshore. “We needed to address pressure injuries,” because pillows were softening and becoming unsupportive. The telemetry unit introduced foam wedges in a two-week trial period. Prior to the trial, RNs and patient care technicians (PCTs) were educated and trained on how to properly use them. During the trial, staff closely tracked the approximately eight patients using foam wedges at any given time each day and recorded findings on a highly visible whiteboard. There are about seven RNs and two CNAs or PCTs working on each shift.
With foam wedges, “nurses were able to turn patients effectively every two hours, and patients remained in position over that duration,” Armstrong says.