Do you want to be a Pressure Ulcer Hero?

Read the latest blog from Tina Chambers, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Tissue Viability & TVS Trustee, on how you can be a Pressure Ulcer Hero!

Mirrors are an essential piece of equipment for those that care. They give you a super power and make you a Pressure Ulcer Hero.

What does a mirror mean to you? Do you use one for your make up or shaving? Or is it essential when cleaning your teeth? We all have associations with mirrors. As children when we lost my sister shopping she could always be found looking in a mirror.

As a nurse of many years standing (I will not say how long), mirrors were available to help our patients with shaving. They were made of glass and we were always under threat of bad luck, and they were often difficult to find. Times changed and the bedside lockers changed shape and now had a hanging wardrobe and a fixed mirror, they were no use for shaving or putting on makeup so we had mirrors that were not usable and encouraged electric razors.

In 2009 I met the Late Annette Bartley, who some of you might remember. She introduced many of us in the UK to the SKIN bundle and she introduced me and many others to using mirrors to assess skin.

The S of SKIN is Skin inspection which is the key to pressure ulcer prevention. Looking at the skin tells us so much about a person – their nutritional and hydration status and their tolerance to pressure. It is essential to pressure ulcer risk assessment and planning and evaluating any care intervention.

Heels are the second most common site of pressure ulcers so skin inspection is essential to protecting the heel. It is almost impossible to get a full 360 degree view of a heel and there are many areas of the skin that are very difficult to see. The first time I used a mirror to see the heel of a bed bound patient, it was a revelation. I no longer had to be a contortionist. I could use it for so many things like the rear of circumferential leg ulcers or to see what was behind a person when I was repositioning them on my own. It was like having stretch eyeballs which could see round corners, my very own nursing superpower.

Pressure ulcer prevention is a fundamental aspect of care. Every person who cares should have their own superpower and pocket mirror. In modern times we can have shatter proof mirrors very cheaply so no excuses and we can even use it to put on our lippy!