Using technology to improve the treatment of pressure ulcers in the community

Manchester icon Greater Manchester
Researchers involved: Prof. Nicky Cullum, Dr Sabine van der Veer
Disease area impacted: Community nursing, wound care
Key partners: Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, GPC Solutions, Intel Life and Health Sciences, CLAHRC-GM
Start and end dates: July 2016 to December 2018

Data will improve the standards of care
Electronic record keeping will transform wound care across Greater Manchester

Project Overview

Pressure ulcers are areas of skin injury that are caused by prolonged pressure or friction. They are sometimes called bedsores, and can have a negative effect on people’s quality of life.

Pressure ulcers particularly affect older people who live at home and have difficulties to get around or who are malnourished.

In Greater Manchester, the care for people with wounds such as pressure ulcers can be disjointed and irregular. Also, information about how wounds are prevented and treated is often not structured and still recorded on paper. This makes it hard to use this information to understand which treatments work and which do not and to improve services for patients.

This project will address these issues by implementing an electronic system to record information about a person’s wound, and their treatment and recovery. These data will help nurses in the community to deliver a higher standard of care, and better plan community wound care services.

The data will also improve the research team’s understanding of which groups of people are most likely to get a pressure ulcer, and which pressure ulcers might take longer than usual to heal.

Ultimately, members of the public will benefit from the project through a decrease in the number and severity of pressure ulcers.


What data are you using?

We will use the data that nurses are recording in the newly implemented electronic wound care system. For example, information about the person who has a pressure ulcer (such as their age, if they have diabetes, etc.); how big and deep the wound is; what nurses did to prevent the pressure ulcer (such as a special mattress); what they did to treat the pressure ulcer.

Nurses will also be taking 3D pictures of the wounds. This will help them to keep track of how well the wound is healing.

What methods are you using to conduct this work? (How are you using the data?)

We will use the data to develop a method that predicts (1) the risk that a person will develop a pressure ulcer; (2) how long it will take a pressure ulcer to heal.

By integrating the method in the electronic wound care system, nurses will be alerted if a patient is at risk of a pressure ulcer or of slow healing. In such cases, the system will advise the nurses what best to do.

Who will/could benefit? (What will we know that we don’t already?)

We will learn from the data which people have a high chance of getting a pressure ulcer, and which pressure ulcers might heal more slowly than expected.

What will be the intended outcome of your research project?

This project aims to improve the information that is recorded about wounds, and to decrease the number of pressure ulcers and the time they take to heal.

Are there any early findings or indications you can report? Are there any publications?

We are currently preparing the project. A small group of community nurses will start trying out the new electronic system soon.

Any comments/additional information you would like to report?

This project has strong connections with the CLAHRC-GM Wound care programme that aims to enhance quality of care and outcomes for people with complex wounds in Greater Manchester.

Click here to visit the CLAHRC website