Are Hospital Patients Prone to Develop Bed Sores?

By Nursing Home Law Center

Hospital Sign

Patients in hospitals encounter many of the same problems as nursing home patients. Although most commonly associated with nursing homes, patients in hospitals and rehab facilities are particularly susceptible to bed sores because many facilities focus on acute medical conditions and fail to address patients daily living needs. Many hospitals simply fail to train their staff on how to prevent, identify and treat bed sores.

A recent study conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality determined that the rate of hospital-acquired bed sores has increased over the last decade. According to the report, the rate of hospital-acquired bed sores (also called decubitus ulcers, pressure ulcers or pressure sores) has increased 80% from 1993 to 2006. Among the more disturbing ‘highlights’ in the report are:

  • In 2006, there were 503,300 hospital stays with pressure ulcers noted as a diagnosis–an increase of nearly 80% since 1993.

  • On an annual basis pressure ulcer stays total $11 billion in hospital costs.

  • More than 90% of the pressure ulcer-related hospitalizations were intended to be for medical conditions unrelated to pressure ulcer treatment.

  • Compared to hospital stays for all other medical conditions, hospital stays related to pressure ulcers were more often discharged to and long-term care facility and more likely to result in death.

  • 72% of adults hospitalized with a secondary pressure sore diagnosis were 65 or older. In comparison 56.5% of adult patients had a principal diagnosis of pressure ulcers were 65 or older.

  • Medicare was the biggest payer for hospital stays related to pressure ulcers- Medicare paid the bills for 3 out of 4 pressure ulcer stays.

  • Paralysis and spinal cord injury were common co-existing conditions among younger adults hospitalized principally for pressure ulcers.

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