Heena Mahmood, a senior physiotherapist at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, has recently returned from the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP) conference in Rome.
The 20th annual conference focussed on interdisciplinary teamwork and technological innovations and Heena was invited to present her findings on the role therapists can play in the management of pressure ulcers.
“If a patient has a pressure ulcer it can often hinder the progress they can make with a physiotherapist,” said Heena. “Simple actions such as sitting on the edge of the bed can be painful. As therapists I believe we are skilled to identify pressure ulcers and can act to help prevent them, and after having a patient who had a pressure ulcer I was compelled to do all I could to help.”
After conducting her own research Heena delivered a presentation to other therapists in the Trust which included; how to spot the signs of pressure ulcers, how to help prevent them developing and what can be done to alleviate symptoms.
All of this is helping the drive across the Trust to prevent pressure ulcers amongst patients.
“I’ve had great feedback from everyone about the presentation,” Heena continued, “people I work with have commented how it has made them feel more empowered and confident to provide patients with the right advice to manage their own pressure ulcers.
“At the conference people were impressed to see a physiotherapist contributing to pressure ulcer prevention. There was good representation from nursing, medical and even occupational therapists but few physios, which I hope will change with more awareness of our role in preventing pressure ulcers.
“It was an amazing opportunity to connect with health professionals on an international basis, with people from Norway, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia to name just a few. I would like to thank my colleagues and Therapy Service Lead who have supported me with this endeavour.”
Usually known to affect people confined to bed or who sit in a chair or wheelchair for long periods of time, pressure ulcers are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue, particularly common on bony parts of the body, such as the heels, elbows, hips and base of the spine.
There is also a national NHS “Stop the pressure” campaign designed to support a sustained reduction in pressure ulcer prevalence.