The launch of national guiding principles for preventing and managing pressure injuries is being welcomed by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne and ACC Minister Michael Woodhouse.
“It’s estimated that every year around 55,000 people suffer from pressure injuries, with more than 3000 of these causing significant harm,” says Dr Coleman.
“Pressure injuries, also known as bedsores or pressure ulcers, are areas of damage to the skin and underlying tissue caused by constant pressure or friction. They can cause pain, disability, hospitalisation, and sometimes even death, yet most are preventable.”
The guidance was launched today at the New Zealand Wound Care Society Annual Conference in Rotorua, and will be made available to health professionals in DHBs, aged and disabled residential care facilities, and the home care sector.
“Preventing these wounds from developing is a high priority for the healthcare system and for ACC,” says Mr Woodhouse.
“They are commonly associated with other serious injuries, and cost ACC an estimated $40 million per year, however we know the true number and cost is under-reported.”
The guidance was created by an expert reference panel representing clinicians, service providers, consumers and organisations across the health sector, including the Ministry of Health, the Health Quality and Safety Commission, ACC, and the New Zealand Wound Care Society.
“Preventing pressure injuries has the potential to improve the quality of life and long-term health and wellbeing for many New Zealanders,” says Mr Dunne.
“The guidance is part of a wider piece of work on pressure injuries, which also includes developing a national approach to measure and report pressure injuries, as well as raising public and health practitioners’ awareness of pressure injury prevention and management.”
The panel drew on evidence-based international guidelines and local reports on pressure injury management.
The guidance is publicly available on ACC’s website and will be reviewed in three years’ time to ensure it remains up to date.