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Eliminating Avoidable Heel Pressure Ulcers Conference Presentations

Today’s Eliminating Avoidable Heel Pressure Ulcers conference, chaired by Tina Chambers Immediate Past Tissue Viability Society & Tissue Viability Consultant Educator and Advisor Tina Chambers Ltd, focused on a practical guide to eliminating heel pressure ulcers. 

The day opened with a presentation from Susan Bowler Professional Advisor NHS England on Implementing Stop the Pressure on the wards.

Susan Bowler Professional Advisor NHS England Full Presentation Click Here

In her presentation Susan Bolwer discussed:

Stop the pressure update: “The campaign wasn’t just about hospitals, about patients in our community – care homes, residential homes.”

“A number of games developed on the Stop the pressure website – There are tools to support you”

“Good improvement in reduction of new pressure ulcers - We have seen a 48% reduction”

“Current priorities – web development, pressure reduction in care homes and economic analysis”

“Pressure Ulcer reduction has been one of the key safety priorities for a number of years, with a strong drive from Midlands and East.”

“Since 2013 we have seen some great reductions, which demonstrates with commitment we can make a difference.”

“The main reduction has been related to Grade 2 ulcers.  The most debilitating ulcers (Grade 3 & 4)  are still happening and haven’t reduced in numbers”

“Patients in our care are still experiencing harm”

“We have seen a 48% reduction – our international partners in New Jersey have recorded a 70% reduction.  Why – they created a mission with objectives.  It became everybody’s goal. They concentrated on prevention across the system, standardising tools and training .”

“There is energy within our system.  Many of your clinical leaders are leading some great work.  The UK had over 18 presentations at the European Wound Conference – lets encourage them to spread their knowledge through you the leaders.”

“Are we using this innovation that was displayed, across our systems”

“Our nurses of the future are showing real engagement.  They will make the difference.  They have developed their own tools for example Student SKIN.”

Susan Bowler Biography

Susan has worked within the NHS for over 30 years.  She has a background in teaching and acute nursing, working in both large acute teaching Trusts and district general hospitals.  Her most recent position was as Executive Director of Nursing and Quality in a highly regulated Trust.  She led the Trust response to the Keogh Rapid Response Review and Special Measures to enable significant improvements in safety, mortality and patient experience.  The scale and pace of change necessitated a ‘call for action’, which created a groundswell of support from existing staff to deliver the required twenty three areas of improvement.  The pace of change and the complexity of the improvement programme required a style of leadership where staff were entrusted and empowered to make the best decisions to drive improvements.  During this period she encouraged a climate of high expectations to deliver a substantial reduction in pressure ulcers resulting : nil Grade 4 hospital acquired pressure ulcers and six Grade 3 hospital acquired pressure ulcers during 2014/15.  Susan has recently joined NHS England to support and lead the national ‘Stop the Pressure’ campaign.  Her recent work as involved working with the Monitor team to review the economic opportunities associated with pressure ulcer reduction.

The morning continued with a presentation on Reducing avoidable heel pressure ulcers through real time monitoring and following the morning tea break Amy Verdon Tissue Viability Clinical Nurse Specialist University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust discussed Changing practice in the early detection of heel pressure ulcers: Undertaking effective Heel Checks. In her presentation Amy Verdon spoke in-depth on:

  • changing practice in the early detection of heel pressure ulcers
  • enabling nurses to carry mirrors to undertake regular heel checks
  • what have we learnt and how we have reduced heel pressure ulcers in Coventry and Warwickshire


Amy commented:

“Heel Watch.  What else have we been doing – Newsletter, performance meetings, ‘Is it a pressure ulcer’ awareness, equipment education, really promoting twitter, mattress delay data”

“Sally Sore on Tour,  – Instrumental in teaching /demonstrating about preventing pressure ulcers”

“ We still have an issue with Heel Pressure, although now less”

“Link workers are involved in the campaign – focusing on heels ‘deal with heels’”

Amy Verdon Tissue Viability Clinical Nurse Specialist University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust Full Presentations Click Here

Amy Verdon Presentation Abstract

The prevention of pressure ulcers at UHCW has been a key area of focus of the trusts tissue viability team for many years and the team have been recognised locally and nationally for the work undertaken to highlight patients at risk of pressure ulcers and educate staff in how to prevent them. Most notably their campaigns such as 100 days free and react to red skin which all originated from UHCW NHS Trust. More recently the team have focussed on in particular prevention of heel pressure ulcers given that nationally these are the second most common site of pressure ulcers but at UHCW this became our primary site of pressure ulcer development. The team needed to establish why this was and what else could be done to raise awareness and educate staff to eliminate avoidable heel pressure ulcers. Their most recent campaign called deal with heels was across the local community and acute trusts from the area as all of these areas were having the same issues in heel pressure ulcer development.

This presentation which Amy delivered alongside her special guest - aimed to provide an insight into the work that has been carried out at UHCW with the aim of eliminating avoidable pressure ulcers.

Amy Verdon Biography

Amy qualified as a registered nurse in 2001 and has a background of working in respiratory medicine. She started working in Tissue Viability in 2004 after being a link nurse for three years. Amy works at a large acute 1200 bedded hospital in Coventry covering a wide variety of specialities such as cardiac, major trauma centre, neonates, paediatrics, orthopaedics, vascular, gerontology etc.  She has published widely and presented locally and nationally on surgical wound management, Innovative methods of education, pressure ulcer prevention and the role of the health care assistant in tissue viability. 

The day continued with presentations on:

  • React to Red: Communicating heel pressure ulcer prevention
  • Vascular assessment of heel pressure ulcers
  • EXTENDED SESSION: Predictors of Healing in Heel Pressure Ulcers
  • EXTENDED SESSION: Multidisciplinary management of heel pressure ulcers
  • Learning from RCA investigations relating to heel pressure ulcers
  • Managing heel pressure ulcers in the community

Future events of interest:

Nurse Prescribing for Wound Care
Wednesday 18 May 2016
ICO Conference Centre, London


Eliminating Avoidable Pressure Ulcers
Thursday 19 May 2016
Colmore Gate Conference Centre, Birmingham


10 February 2016


    Partner Organisations

    The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation TrustInPracticeClinical Audit Support CentrePlayoutJust For Nurses
    GGI (Good Governance Institute) accredited conferences CPD Member ASGBI (Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland) professional partner BADS (British Association of Day Surgery) accredited conferences