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A new goal to "prevent health care-associated pressure ulcers" has been adopted by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) in its 2006 Patient Safety Goals and related requirements for accredited long-term-care facilities. As a result, long-term-care facilities will be required to assess and periodically reassess each resident's risk for developing a pressure ulcer and take action to address any identified risks.
Adoption of the safety goal is an important step in the effort to reduce the incidence and prevalence of pressure ulcers. The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) is among the professional organizations at the forefront of working on this problem. Its educational CDs on pressure ulcer prevention and treatment recommend assessment on admission using a validated and reliable assessment tool, such as the Braden or Norton scale.
"Risk assessment allows for early and appropriate indication of risk," said Mary Ellen Posthauer, RD, CD, LD, NPUAP's President. "Licensed or trained staff should assess on admission, form a care plan based on risk, and document the findings."
Ms Posthauer also noted that skin assessment is recommended during routine care and whenever a significant change occurs. "Assess daily if the condition is changing rapidly, or monthly or quarterly for long-term-care," she said. For more information on the JCAHO's 2006 Safety Goals, visit
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