Pressure ulcers (PUs) are a significant burden to healthcare as they are associated with high morbidity expenditures. According to Cano et al. (2015), “the cost of care for one PU is between $500 and $70,000, depending on the stage” (p. 574). At the same time, PUs are considered to be a preventable health problem. Therefore, by changing the procedures of patient risk assessment and undertaking measures to mitigate those risks promptly, hospitals can minimize unnecessary costs associated with the occurrence of PU and improve patient safety indices.
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The given topic is interesting because the development of PUs in hospitalized patients can be mainly regarded as a nurse-sensitive outcome. It means that a nurse should have the knowledge and the skills needed to recognize at-risk individuals and commence timely interventions in order to improve patient results. It is possible to say that, by impacting the area of nursing directly, the exploration of the effects of PU prevention protocols in emergency departments can help practitioners in acquiring these necessary competencies. Additionally and more specifically, the proposed research project will aim to explore the links between patient outcomes and nurse behaviors, as well as to inform the design of new potential solutions to the PU problem. These goals are measurable and realistic, yet their accomplishment will largely depend on the quality of research design in general.
The topic is relevant today because the prevalence and incidence of PU remain high, although their rates may significantly vary across different types of settings. Additionally, Truong, Grigson, Patel, and Liu (2016) note that hospitals may implement different standards of PU prevention and treatment. It means that the efficacy of patient care may vary depending on the undertaken measures, as well as setting contexts. Thus, in-depth research of new care algorithms and materials may substantially benefit both patients and hospitals by providing opportunities for practice improvement.
Considering that the research project is meant to modify nurses’ behaviors, it will primarily target the given group of healthcare practitioners. Firstly, it will aim to provide an educational tool for all nurses regardless of their cultural, social, and demographic backgrounds in a specific, selected setting. However, it is expected that the findings will benefit every nursing practitioner and hospital working with at-risk individuals.
- Does the implementation of the prevention protocol reduce the incidence of PU in hospitalized patients?
- What are the patient and the hospital costs of utilizing the new protocol compared to usual care procedures?
- How effective is the new protocol in treating PUs registered on patient admission in terms of wound recovery?
- What are the major difficulties and barriers to the implementation of the PU prevention protocol in the hospital environment?
Considering that emergency departments are associated with a high risk of PU development in hospitalized patients, the lack of standard and effective preventive care protocols may compromise patient safety and lead to excess treatment costs.
Compared to usual care initiated within the emergency department, the implementation of the PU protocol, covering a broad range of nursing behaviors in relation to the identified adverse health condition, can potentially help reduce the occurrence of hospital-acquired PUs during prolonged hospitalization. The hypothesis suggests that the frequency and correlation of the implementation of preventive care measures (independent variables) are directly related to patient outcomes (dependent variable). The relationship between them will be tested through the comparison of pre-and post-utilization data, whereas the factor of nurse adherence and PU incidence rate will be measured at both stages of research.
Cano, A., Anglade, D., Stamp, H., Joaquin, F., Lopez, J. A., Lupe, L., … Young, D. L. (2015). Improving outcomes by implementing a pressure ulcer prevention program (PUPP): Going beyond the basics. Healthcare, 3(3), 574–585.
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Truong, B., Grigson, E., Patel, M., & Liu, X. (2016). Pressure ulcer prevention in the hospital setting using silicone foam dressings. Cureus, 8(8), e730.