It has taken a decade. In 2008 I put together a program called “Pressure Ulcers and the Law” which I patterned after the programs on birth injuries and the law that changed the way cerebral palsy cases were handled. It was demonstrated that most cases of CP happen prior to birth, but only after untold millions of dollars were paid out in malpractice lawsuits against obstetricians who were unfairly blamed. Check out the 2008 brochure on Pressure Ulcers and the Law, which identified the issues with the NPUAP pressure ulcer staging system that were contributing to improper litigation and keeping prevention strategies from being correctly targeted.
This debate is not just about the legal issues. The problem is that some pressure ulcers are caused by tissue ischemia. The word “injury” does not open the mind to the interventions that need to be directed at mitigating ischemia. Calling things the wrong name is dangerous because it prevents the right kind of thinking about prevention- at least for some ulcers.
The good news is that changing the terminology of pressure ulcers to “pressure injuries” has FINALLY galvanized physicians into action. It’s about time the physicians got engaged. This is NOT just a story about beds, turning schedules, and foam pads. It’s time to stop blaming nursing care. There’s a story we need to tell about cardiovascular physiology.
The AAWC is convening a Pressure Ulcer Summit to be held in Atlanta February 9 &10 2018. The purpose of the Summit is to examine current evidence and research in light of an updated Pressure Ulcer pathophysiology and description. We can no longer leave this in the hands of the few to decide. Only by working with a broad coalition can we come to meaningful change that will be accepted rather than the same dogma that has been promoted for years.—Greg Bohn, MD, President, AAWC