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Updated: Feb 6, 2018

November 15, 2017- Skilled Wound Care

Pressure injuries are a major public health issue around the world: November 16 is Worldwide Pressure Injury Prevention Day.

According to Skilled Wound Care’s Chief Clinical Officer, Henry Okonkwo, more than 60,000 people die every year in the US from pressure ulcers (or pressure injuries), and that number is growing. What’s worse, the numbers are far more troubling worldwide: 1 in 4 people around the world suffer from pressure ulcers after the age of 65.

Unfortunately, pressure injuries - while distressingly common - are not a disease process that are well-known. Yet they affect our communities, impacting those who, because of advanced age, immobility, sickness, or other conditions are already vulnerable.

Pressure injuries - which used to be referred to as “bedsores,” - occur when there is damage to the skin and underlying soft tissue, usually at a bony prominence (like the elbows, heels, tailbone, etc.). Pressure injuries are caused by intense and/or prolonged pressure on an area, and often looks like a painful, open ulcer. Pressure injuries are exceedingly prone to infection, and are strongly impacted by other conditions (like environment, nutrition, etc.).

If pressure injuries were a cancer, points out Skilled Wound Care’s Dr. Bardia Anvar, they’d be the third most common cause of death. “Our goal,” said Anvar recently, “is to heal these wounds and reverse this process”.

Henry Okonkwo, PA summed up Skilled Wound Care’s approach to pressure injuries: “60,000 patients or more a year is way too many. Pressure ulcers are things that can be healed really well with the right education. And that’s one of the reasons why not only are we passionate about making people aware of it, we’re very passionate about educating people on how to manage it. And so combining the two ideas, of bringing more awareness of pressure ulcers, and then teaching people - not just caregivers, but those at home, nurses, family members, everyone - how to manage wounds, how to prevent them before they even occur, is a big deal. And that’s part of whole awareness program. It’s not just for the nursing staff, it’s for the entire community, because pressure ulcers affect us all.”

For more on pressure injuries, check out this video from Skilled Wound Care, or visit the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel’s website for more on Worldwide Pressure Injury Prevention Day.

Skilled Wound Care is a mobile surgical practice committed to transforming the chronic wound care model in nursing facilities. Wound care experts make weekly bedside visits to patients in long-term care facilities, avoiding transfers to hospitals or clinics. Our expert physicians give patients the most up-to-date and effective wound treatments, and educate facility staff on how to help patients continue to heal quickly and effectively between visits. This model of collaborative care allows SWC’s physicians to improve patients’ lives and health outcomes, to empower nursing staff, and to raise public awareness. Skilled Wound Care, along with its nurse and nursing home partners, is working every day to positively transform traditional nursing home wound care.

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