Information concerning the cost of treating pressure ulcers is not separately identifiable within the reference costs that National Health Service trusts and NHS foundation trusts submit annually to the Department.
NHS England has advised that no assessment has been made of the proportion of pressure ulcers that are caused by poor continence care. However, maintaining skin integrity and maintaining continence are both aspects of fundamental care.
The NHS Safety Thermometer is the measurement tool for a programme of work to support patient safety improvement. It is used to record patient harms at the frontline, and to provide immediate information and analyses for frontline teams to monitor their performance in delivering harm free care.
The NHS Safety Thermometer records the presence or absence of four harms:
- pressure ulcers;
- urinary tract infections in patients with a catheter; and
- new venous thromboembolisms.
These four harms were selected as the focus by the Department’s QIPP Safe Care programme because they are common, and because there is a clinical consensus that they are largely preventable through appropriate patient care. The concept of Harm Free Care was designed to bring focus to the patient’s overall experience. Patients are assessed in their care settings. Measurement at the frontline is intended to focus attention on patient harms and their elimination.