HEALTH chiefs have revealed how hospitals in Swansea and Port Talbot are working to prevent bedsores.
Last week health board Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABM) apologised to the family of a 77-year-old-man with dementia, who died four months after being admitted to Cefn Coed Hospital in 2009.
An ombudsman report into the man's death, referred to as Mr O, said the hospital failed to prevent bedsores (pressure ulcers) developing on the man.
But bosses at ABM say a nursing scheme has led to a significant reduction in the amount of patients suffering with them over the past four years. Now all inpatients must have a pressure assessment on admission to hospital and are given a score depending on the risk.
If the patient scores over 15, they are deemed at risk and are placed on a care programme, a SKIN bundle, which requires nursing intervention every two hours.
Since 2008, the health board has gone from a pressure sore incident rate of 13 per cent (typical of the NHS generally) to less than one per cent in 2012.
During last year, incidents were recorded at a rate of between four and eight a month on average, with only two in December. Hamish Laing, consultant plastic surgeon and ABM director of clinical strategy said: "This shows that it's possible to stop pressure ulcers happening by just applying, consistently for every patient, what we know is right.
"It demonstrates that it is realistic to have a zero tolerance approach to pressure ulcers in hospital."
The report found that Mr O was assessed as "at risk" of developing pressure sores, when he entered Cefn Coed.
But despite the risk the man was not reassessed until after he developed a "significant" pressure sore two months later.
In a statement a spokeswoman for the health board said: "Today, our hospitals have some of the lowest rates of pressure ulcers in the world.
"Pressure sores are not acceptable, and in almost all cases they are avoidable.
"Our clinicians have been determined to find ways to greatly reduce the risk of patients developing pressure ulcers."