Using Six Sigma to Reduce Pressure Ulcers at Thibodaux Hospital

Thibodaux Regional Medical Center (TRMC) in Louisiana started to apply Six Sigma and change management methods to a range of clinical and operational issues. In October 2004, one project that clearly aligned with the hospital’s strategic plan was an initiative to reduce nosocomial or hospital-acquired pressure ulcers. The project to address this issue was approved by the hospital’s senior executives. A team began to clarify the problem statement. Their vision was to be the “Skin Savers” by resolving issues leading to the development of nosocomial pressure ulcers. The project team included a Black Belt, enterostomal therapy registered nurse (ETRN), medical surgical RN, ICU RN, rehab RN and RN educator.

The benefits are measured in cost avoidance and an overall improved quality of care. A 60% reduction in the overall nosocomial pressure ulcer rate resulted in an annual cost avoidance of approximately $300,000.

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