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Bed Sore Prevention May Require Nursing Homes To Obtain Pressure Relieving Devices For Their Patients

Picture-163Today marks the 6th entry in the collaborative series I am doing with David Terry regarding the Six Common Causes of Bed Sore & What Caregivers Can Do To Improve Care.  For this final entry David addresses the use of pressure relieving devices to combat the development of bed sores.

As a lawyer who sees a significant number of cases where nursing home or hospital patients have developed bed sores (also referred to as: pressure sores, pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers) during a short or long-term admission, I feel as though the most progress has been made with respect to new technology in the utilization of pressure relieving devices.

As David points out, special padding on wheelchairs, heel pads and pressure relieving mattresses are the most common types of pressure relieving devices used in nursing homes and hospitals. Like all medical devices however, to achieve maximum benefit from the new technology staff must receive proper training.

Occasionally, we see long delays between the implementation of the pressure relieving devices from the time that they were originally ordered by the doctor.  Sometimes the delay is based on the fact that the facility may be inadequately stocked with the devices.  Yet in other situations, facilities may claim that such devices are too expensive. 

Unfortunately, given the alternative– having patients with advanced bed sores, the reality is that these devices are a bargain from both a cost savings standpoint in terms of bed sore treatment expenses as well as the physical and psychological toll bed sores take on patients.


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  • A challenge for caregivers in all care settings continues to be “seeing” where the pressure exists under a patient. Furthermore, even with pressure relieving devices, there is still no assurance that those devices are in fact decreasing the pressure where the patient requires it. With a new bedside pressure mapping device, caregivers can assess if patients pressures are decreased and patients are positioned with the least amount of pressure beneath them.

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