It's tissue, Harm but not as we know it!

It's tissue, Harm but not as we know it!

Why the quicker application research findings will allow the proactive prevention of tissue harm beyond the minimum legal requirements.

Beneath all talk of safety within Health and Social Care is a focus on legality and whether practices meet current laws and regulations. Often this feels like a never-ending circle, where “reasonably practical” actions are deemed to meet current standards… so nothing changes as there is no requirement to improve the widely-accepted products and practices in use. In other words, as long as steps have been taken to meet requirements, then healthcare providers have met both their legal and moral standards.

In our view however, is “meeting standards” enough? Taking the care of patients confined to bed as an example, it is an accepted side-effect that tissue harm (still more commonly and incorrectly termed pressure sores or ulcers) will occur. Initiatives are implemented to try and Stop Pressure Ulcers but these fail to take into account the underlying reasons and causes of tissue harm.

Whenever change is needed, there is always resistance. To overcome that resistance there needs to be a paradigm shift in thinking. At Phil-e-Slide we are working with world-leading experts in biology (such as Harm Smit) who are researching what happens under the skin. For example, they have identified six states of harm and the role of fascia in allowing tissues to move freely without transferring movement to surrounding structures therefore avoiding them reaching the threshold of resistance at which tissues might shear. These research findings are developing our knowledge on the causes of tissue harm and how this knowledge can be used to prevent it happening when providing inbed care.

In our view, the Health and Social Care industry shouldn’t be waiting for legislation to make change happen; we should be pursuing a culture of safety and prevention to improve the safety of patients and their carers. To do this, Sara Pazell advocates that organisations adopt an “occupational salutogenesis” approach as they are more likely to “provide a forum in which workers may be most likely to make safe and healthful choices and employ safe work tactics”.

Perhaps Brexit for the UK is an ideal time for organisations to review how they promote the prevention of tissue harm and influence policy makers to encourage an approach that “goes beyond acceptable standards”. This will allow new research to be reviewed and acted upon proactively so that new understanding of the causes and prevention of tissue harm can benefit more quickly the people legislation is intended to protect.


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