Pressure ulcers are a significant challenge for the patients who develop them and the healthcare professionals involved in their prevention and management. They can result in serious complications and avoidable harm, with patients with mobility difficulties at particularly risk from this. This guidance is designed to help practitioners and managers across health and care organisations to provide caring and quick responses to people at risk of developing pressure ulcers.
This protocol provides a framework for health and care organisations in England to draw on when developing guidance for staff in all sectors and agencies that may see a pressure ulcer. If the staff member is concerned that the pressure ulcer may have arisen as a result of poor practice, neglect or abuse, or an act of omission, local guidance should be clear about what steps they need to take and whether the local authority safeguarding duties are triggered.
The aim of this protocol is to provide a national framework, identifying pressure ulcers as primarily an issue for clinical investigation rather than a safeguarding enquiry led by the local authority. Indicators to help decide when a pressure ulcer case may additionally need a safeguarding enquiry are included.
In addition to this protocol the Department of Health and Social Care has published an accompanying adult safeguarding decision guide, body map and proforma as appendices, which can be found here.