Investigating staff knowledge of safeguarding and pressure ulcers in care homes

K. Ousey, V. Kaye, K. McCormick, J. Stephenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate whether nursing/care home staff regard pressure ulceration as a safeguarding issue; and to explore reporting mechanisms for pressure ulcers (PUs) in nursing/care homes. Method: Within one clinical commissioning group, 65 staff members from 50 homes completed a questionnaire assessing their experiences of avoidable and unavoidable PUs, grading systems, and systems in place for referral to safeguarding teams. Understanding of safeguarding was assessed in depth by interviews with 11 staff members. Results: Staff observed an average of 2.72 PUs in their workplaces over the previous 12 months, judging 45.6% to be avoidable. Only a minority of respondents reported knowledge of a grading system (mostly the EPUAP/NPUAP system). Most respondents would refer PUs to the safeguarding team: the existence of a grading system, or guidance, appeared to increase that likelihood. Safeguarding was considered a priority in most homes; interviewees were familiar with the term safeguarding, but some confusion over its meaning was apparent. Quality of written documentation and verbal communication received before residents returned from hospital was highlighted. However, respondents expressed concern over lack of information regarding skin integrity. Most staff had received education regarding ulcer prevention or wound management during training, but none reported post-registration training or formal education programmes; reliance was placed on advice of district nurses or tissue viability specialists. Conclusion: Staff within nursing/care homes understand the fundamentals of managing skin integrity and the importance of reporting skin damage; however, national education programmes are needed to develop knowledge and skills to promote patient health-related quality of life, and to reduce the health-care costs of pressure damage. Further research to investigate understanding, knowledge and skills of nursing/care home staff concerning pressure ulcer development and safeguarding will become increasingly necessary, as levels of the older population who may require assisted living continue to rise. Declaration of interest: Funding was received from NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group (HMR CCG).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-11
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of wound care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


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