Pressure injuries

Pressure injuries (also known as bedsores or pressure ulcers) are a preventable cause of harm affecting people of all ages receiving care in hospital, residential care and in the community.

Pressure injuries usually develop over ‘bony’ parts of the body due to sustained pressure, or pressure combined with shear and/or friction. Those with decreased mobility and sensation are at increased risk. Pressure injuries can also occur as a result of pressure on skin from medical equipment (eg, nasogastric or oxygen tubing).

The effects of pressure injuries include pain, loss of function, reduced mobility, distress, prolonged treatment, septicaemia and even death. Pressure injuries reduce quality of life, delay recovery and have a significant impact on patients, their family/whānau and the health care system.

With the right knowledge and care, pressure injuries can be avoided. Everyone, including those at risk of a pressure injury, their family and whānau, carers, health practitioners and managers, has a role to play in prevention.

What we’re doing

The Ministry, the Health Quality & Safety Commission (HQSC) and the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) are involved in a joint agency approach to pressure injury prevention. You will find information on prevention approaches on the HQSC website. Guidance for carers and health professionals is provided in Guiding Principles for Pressure Injury Prevention and Management in New Zealand (PDF, 2.8 MB) on the ACC website.

The three agencies, along with the New Zealand Wound Care Society, also support STOP Pressure Injury Day, held annually to raise awareness of pressure injuries and how to prevent them. Key messages are:

  • with the right knowledge and care, pressure injuries can be avoided
  • all health professionals, carers, family/whānau members and patients have important roles to play in prevention
  • skin care matters.

You will find links to a range of education resources and information on how to be involved on the New Zealand Wound Care Society website.

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