The addition of a certified wound and skin care nurse to a multiprofessional prone-positioning team at Penn Medicine Princeton Health significantly reduced the odds of patients with COVID-19 developing pressure injuries, according to a study published in American Journal of Critical Care.
The development of healthcare-associated pressure injuries is a significant complication of placing patients prone, and prolonged prone positioning for patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is associated with higher rates of new pressure injuries, specifically on the face, cheekbones and thorax and over bony prominences.
Although many studies have reported the development of pressure injuries in patients with ARDS who are placed prone for prolonged periods, “Pressure Injury Outcomes of a Prone-Positioning Protocol in Patients with COVID and ARDS” is one of the first to explore specific treatment-related strategies for preventing pressure injuries.
The study evaluated the effectiveness of a multiprofessional pronation team that included a certified wound and skin care nurse who focused on reducing the development of pressure injuries in patients with COVID-19 and ARDS. The certified wound and skin care nurse had direct supervision and oversight of all skin preparation procedures and trained the team to care for the patients’ skin.
Senior author and researcher Kari A. Mastro, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, is director of practice, innovation and research, Penn Medicine Princeton Health, Plainsboro, New Jersey.
“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been honing our efforts to improve outcomes for patients with COVID-19,” she said. “The results of our study underscore the value of having clinicians with specialized expertise work together to improve patient outcomes and could redefine the strategies used to prevent pressure injuries in this patient population.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Princeton Health formed a multiprofessional team to ensure the safe transition of critically ill patients from supine to prone and avoid common complications such as pressure injury development, accidental extubations and loss of intravenous catheters.
Before placing a patient prone, the team worked through different techniques and created a refined, systematic and smooth process, with step-by-step visual aids.
The research team evaluated retrospective data from the health system’s electronic health record for a seven-month period, Feb. 1, 2020, to Aug. 30, 2020. The intervention group was treated by a team that included a certified wound and skin care nurse, while the comparison group was treated by a prone-positioning team that used the National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel’s prone guidelines but did not include a certified wound and skin care nurse leading the pressure injury prevention strategies.
A total of 130 patients met the inclusion criteria for the cross-sectional analysis, 40% of whom were in the intervention group.
Significantly fewer patients in the intervention group had pressure injuries develop (8% compared with 60% in the comparison group). Further analysis and adjustment for relevant factors revealed that patients in the intervention group had a 97% lower adjusted odds ratio of pressure injury developing than those in the comparison group.