On Oct. 9, the Joint Commission issued a Quick Safety Advisory on pressure injuries on its website. The advisory states, “Pressure injuries can be deceptive, and many harbor a much deeper pressure injury than is apparent to the naked eye. When evaluating a pressure injury, bedside nurses and clinicians need to look for certain warning signs and symptoms that should trigger a surgical consultation and evaluation for the need for debridement. Severe pressure injuries can put the patient at risk for potentially worse outcomes, including amputation, as well as additional and unnecessary pain and suffering. Pressure injuries also can be an unrecognized cause of systemic infection.”
According to the advisory, common risk factors for developing pressure injuries include:
- Immobility due to any cause (e.g., neurological impairment, prolonged anesthesia)
- Lack of sensory or pain perception (e.g., neuropathy, diabetes)
- Poor nutrition or dehydration
- Obesity/low body mass index (BMI)
- Prior history of pressure injuries
The advisory also includes warning signs and symptoms of severe pressure injuries that nurses and clinicians should look for. If any of the warning signs are detected, the advisory recommends asking for a surgical consult and involving the surgical team as soon as possible.
Additionally, the advisory suggests safety actions such as developing and implementing an organizational policy that outlines a structured skin assessment approach and using a pressure injury classification system in pressure injury-related education to staff.
The Joint Commission has the Quick Safety Advisory.