Walking into the Emergency Department at the Perth Children’s Hospital with their sick two-year-old daughter Amelia, Brianna and Russell felt…
Acutely ill and immobilised children are at risk of pressure injuries which can develop in as little as 30 minutes if there is high pressure on a small area.
Both increased pressure over short periods of time and slight pressure for long periods of time have shown to cause equal damage.
Children with physical disabilities that limit movement (such as spina bifida and cerebral palsy), children in intensive care or restricted to bed rest due to a procedure, and children receiving palliative care are all at an increased risk of pressure injuries. This is because they may have to lie still for a long period of time, putting pressure on the area that the child is resting on (normally their back, bottom or legs).
To help prevent children in PMH from getting these injuries, the Foundation purchased 20 specially designed Alternating Pressure Mattresses which contain air cells that can be inflated or deflated as required to constantly change pressure points and promote circulation.
The mattresses are helping to reduce pain and infection among children who were previously most at risk of developing a pressure injury. They are also enabling some patients to spend less time in hospital as there is no need for them to receive ongoing care for pressure wounds. So children who would previously have to stay in hospital after an operation because they developed a pressure injury are now being sent home earlier!
Clinical Nurse Consultant, Carmel Boylan, said the mattresses are improving the care patients receive.
“Since receiving the new mattresses we have been able to make children much more comfortable and have seen a dramatic reduction in the number of pressure injuries. This is a great outcome as our goal is to ensure the children we care for are able to leave the hospital and go home as soon as possible.
“Fewer pressure injuries often means an earlier discharge. We are incredibly grateful for the support of the Foundation and their donors for providing these special mattresses. They are such a great help.”
Pictured above: Neonatal nurse Laura Richardson with one of the special alternating pressure mattresses.