Wanganui District Health BoardMonday 06 August 2012, 10:26AM
Media release from Wanganui District Health Board
Wanganui Hospital is making good progress in seeking to
understand how falls, pressure injuries, incontinence and
malnutrition affect our population and what it can do to minimise
the risk for hospital patients and rest home residents.
Recently released results, from the 2011 National Care Prevalence
Survey show, not one Wanganui Hospital patient who participated in
last year's day-long survey had any signs of breaks on their skin
caused by pressure incurred during their hospital stay.
And if Whanganui District Health Board director of nursing, patient
safety and quality Sandy Blake has her way, pressure injuries will
soon be eliminated altogether.
"We know that by lying people on pressure reducing mattresses we're
able to save many from developing pressure ulcers," Mrs Blake says.
"So encouraging families to join together and buy their elderly and
sick relatives a pressure-relieving mattress for their birthday or
Christmas is something I feel we need to consider.
"It could be the best present you give someone you care for.
Pressure-relieving mattresses can make a huge difference to rest
home residents who it has been shown, are more likely to develop
In terms of the malnutrition, incontinence, falls and the use of
restraint measures also considered by the survey it appears results
were mixed for Wanganui Hospital, the 15 rest homes and the
community clients who took part in it.
The prevalence of incontinence in 2011 was found to be comparable
with the 2010 results which showed incontinence is common across
hospital, rest home and community settings, but highest in rest
The report notes that due to incontinence often becoming an
accepted burden for the elderly, few rest homes are diagnosing
their clients and putting personalised interventions in place -
something that both the hospital and rest homes need to do to
encourage and help their patients remain continent or in some
cases, regain their continence.
The survey report shows that malnutrition and malnourishment remain
a concern with one in four clients in hospitals and rest homes
found to be malnourished and about half the remaining clients at
risk of becoming so.
On noting that 50 percent of those admitted to hospital and 85
percent of those admitted to rest homes are screened for
malnourishment the report recommends that people's weight and
height needs to be monitored routinely during their time in both
Mrs Blake says while it is upsetting to think of people being
malnourished, unfortunately elderly people with long-term illnesses
and the elderly are susceptible to malnutrition.
"We know that the elderly lose their appetite and often
refuse to eat nourishing food," Mrs Blake says. "It's an ongoing
problem for staff working in the health and care sectors so I agree
that regular monitoring is a good step towards trying to improve
people's eating habits."
The survey report also noted that falls and the use of restraints
are other areas that require close monitoring by the hospital and
The cost and suffering incurred due to falls and falls-related
injuries are substantial and often change a person's quality of
life forever, Mrs Blake says.
"While most falls and falls-related injuries occur among the
elderly, the older they are and the more medical conditions they
have, the more likely they are to fall."
"The report tells us that during the last two years the incidence
of clients who had a fall within the WDHB has stayed around the
same with a slight increase from 23 percent to 29 percent in the
hospital setting, a slight decrease from 13.5 percent to 12.5
percent in rest homes and an incidence of 9.4 percent in the
community which this year was included in the survey for the first
Included among the six recommendations around falls was advice that
fall prevention must remain on the agenda of all care settings and
at all levels - a recommendation fully supported by Mrs
In all 56 hospital patients, 334 rest home clients across 15 rest
homes and 32 people cared for in the community agreed to
participate in the survey giving an overall participation of 72