There was so much information to digest from the key lectures in terms of treatments, assessments, reporting and of course classification!

Martin Sylvester, Research Nurse at Mid Yorkshire NHS Teaching Trust was one of the Society funded winners to attend the EPUAP 2023 conference in Leeds

I would like to start by thanking the Society of Tissue Viability for the grant I received which allowed me to attend the event. What a jam-packed three days it was.

The event started with a tribute to Professor Dan Bader, formally chief editor of the Journal of Tissue Viability. Peter Worsley fondly recounted Professor Bader’s professional and personal life and the legacy he has left behind with his contributions in the field of soft tissue biomechanics and skin.

Following this we listened to a remarkable lady who recalled her experiences of living with a pressure ulcer. She discussed how she felt excluded from her care, describing feeling that her age was a barrier to assessment and how perspectives differed from the nursing team, the doctors and herself. Her experience of the route cause analysis performed to find out how her pressure ulcer developed felt like the team were talking about a different person. She also recounted how her pain restricted her movement and about the time the mattress she was laying on began deflating and she expressed a sensation of being ‘eaten’ by the mattress. On this occasion rather than the mattress mode being switched to address the issue she was referred for psychiatric review! It was a saddening tale but one that will change how I discuss pressure ulcer prevention with patients.

There was so much information to digest from the key lectures in terms of treatments, assessments, reporting and of course classification!

One of the breakout sessions delivered by Professor Jane Nixon and Isabelle Smith discussed how research proposals are undertaken looking at concept, literature reviews, and the use of the pico tool to help development of the clinical question. The session was informative and the activity at the end gave the group the opportunity to practice developing a research proposal. This was of particular interest to me as I am a research nurse and certainly wish to develop skills and work collaboratively with academics in developing research protocols.

As ever the Industry sponsors delivered all the glitz and glamor showcasing their wares. New mattresses, offloading devices and SEM scanners. A veritable array of the latest gadgets and gizmos entering the market. The stands were particularly busy, with industry representatives eager to impart the pros of their products and sharing their knowledge and experience graciously. We are thankful for their sponsorship to hold such wonderful events.

The event also offered an opportunity to meet up with old friends and create new ones. I caught up with a number of my previous colleagues and some of the academics whose research studies I work on. As a result I was introduced to others who share a passion for wound care. This is where I find real value at the events as it is the network of people supporting one another to grow and develop an evidence base to improve outcomes for patients.

The breakout groups enabled delegates to spend some time discussing their own experiences and current work. During one group I chatted to a number of international nurses and we discussed variations in practice around the world. Much of this discussion centred around the implementation of Purpose T. This provided me an opportunity to reflect on the time I helped support the implementation of purpose T locally and it’s amazing to see how widespread the tool has been implemented to date. I did attend the session delivered by Susanne Coleman discussing Purpose T. It  was a welcome refresher as I have not used it in several years due to the nature of my role but will be in the near future.

We were able to utilise the Whoova app throughout the duration of the conference, which proved really useful in explaining what discussions were happening where and when and gave attendees the opportunity to share contact details with other delegates.

And let’s not forget the most important aspect of any event – the food! We were so well catered for, and the food was delicious, helping us all to maintain our energy to focus on all the information being relayed to us.

It would be remiss of me to leave the combatants who demonstrated medieval combat. They discussed the history of their armour and weapons and performed for the contingent. This was very informative and had the crowd laughing. A welcome break and a good chance to relax.

To conclude, I had a great three days in Leeds and met a number of wonderful people with a passion for wound care from around the world. I took away so much in terms of where pressure ulcer prevention is heading (SEM scanning, infrared, AI etc) and had the opportunity to reflect on my own practice. I came away feeling refreshed and excited about the future. I think it’s important to have these events to showcase what we are achieving, where we can improve and to take a step back from the day-to-day activities.

Thank you again Society of Tissue Viability. Hopefully I will be able to make Switzerland (EPUAP) and EWMA next year,