Administrative support was required to coordinate the efforts of several departments to utilize support surfaces and low air loss (LAL) pumps which were in storage and unavailable to staff until the algorithm was developed. Procedures were developed for transporting, storing and cleaning the surfaces.
Objectives: Our aim was to empower the bedside nurse to select the appropriate support surface using a tool that concentrates on the Braden Scale subscale scores for moisture and mobility, in conjunction with a full nursing assessment. The guideline combines easy to follow pictograms with a priority ranked list for appropriate support surfaces. The flip side has photographs of the support surfaces and details how to obtain them, so that previously purchased equipment could be utilized.
Outcome: The bedside nurse is now enabled to select the correct surface based on evidence. Support surface usage (including rentals) was monitored and evaluated and a cost increase was identified, despite utilizing already purchased equipment. This increase was attributed to the proactive procurement of support surfaces and providing best practice. The increase also confirmed the necessity for more advanced surfaces, particularly in the critical care areas and trials for capital purchase were begun.