A Counties Manukau Health study published in the September 1st issue of the New Zealand Medical Journal shows that strategies for managing hospital-acquired pressure injuries can lead to large financial savings for hospitals, as well as reducing the burden of the condition on patients and staff.
Approximately 55,000 people in New Zealand experience pressure injuries each year. The condition causes pain, loss of mobility and function, prolonged hospital stays, financial difficulties, septicaemia and even death, as well as depression, distress and anxiety, embarrassment and social isolation.
To address the problem, Counties Manukau Health carried out an intervention designed to reduce the number of hospital-acquired pressure injuries between 2011 and 2015.
In the recently-published study, ‘Estimated reduction in expenditure on hospital-acquired pressure injuries after an intervention for early identification and treatment’, a team of wound care resource nurses led by clinical nurse specialist Heather Lewis conducted monthly audits of patients with pressure injuries from a random sample of five patients per ward across five Counties Manukau Health hospitals.
Ms Lewis and the research team used the results of the audit to estimate cost savings.
“We found that the estimated cost of treating pressure injuries was $12,290,484 less for the year 2015 than for the year 2011. We attribute this cost saving to the intervention,” Ms Lewis says.