Thanks to all who have supported the efforts of the National Decubitus Foundation during 2011. The year began with the NDF presentation at the 12th NPUAP Biennial Conference in Las Vegas, with financial support from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. There we were able to inform many of the leaders in bedsore prevention of the NDF Prevention Protocol, and to distribute many copies of the NDF prevention study. The highlight for me was meeting Barbara Braden PhD, author of the Braden Scale, and hearing her agree that many hospitals have been able to drive their incidence rates to near zero by implementing the findings of the NDF study.
The best news of the year came from the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators, sponsored by the American Nursing Association. For the first time since the survey started in 1998 it showed a meaningful reduction in hospital-acquired pressure ulcer incidence. Whereas the incidence for 2004 and 2006-2007 held steady a t 6.4%, 2010 showed a drop to 3.8% (2.7% excluding Stage 1 ulcers).
In April Medicare published, over American Hospital Association objections, the first hospital-specific patient safety data, including serious pressure ulcers, to be released nationally. Low-G Technologies announced a promising new mattress overlay based on a material used successfully for years to relieve pressure for fighter pilots on extended missions.
In a call to the office of Senator Bob Gordon, co-sponsor of the bill requiring New Jersey nursing homes to change all mattresses to pressure redistrbution types by April 2012, we learned that there has been no major resistance from nursing homes and that compliance with the law is expected. We followed that by sending letters to chairs of senate health committees in all 49 other states informing them of the New Jersey law and urging them to do likewise.
In October a story in the Sacramento Bee described the backing of the California Hospital Association (CHA) for the efforts of several of its member hospitals that, in effect, implemented the NDF Prevention Protocol. Several hospitals had greatly reduced pressure ulcer incidence by assessing risk for all admitted patients, and placing those at risk on special pressure redistribution mattresses. During 2012 we will inform all state hospital associations of this action by the CHA, and urge them to adopt a similar policy position.