There’s no doubt that preventing pressure sores is much easier than healing them. Unfortunately, once developed in, a pressure sore requires months (if not substantially longer) of medical care that is usually painful, expensive and downright de-humanizing.
In reality, pressure sores will continue to develop in patients in nursing homes and hospitals for a variety of reasons — some of which is beyond the control of staff. However, it is important to remember that pressure sores are a progressive condition and they do not progress to an advanced stage (stage 3 or 4) overnight.
Though not ideal, a pressure sore identified in its early stages can be treated and healed far more rapidly than when a wound opens and underlying tissue and muscle is affected. Recognizing the perils in delayed treatment for pressure sore patients, a read an article about how a state agency fined a facility for the days between the time the wound was originally noted and when proper care was given to the patient.
The Texas Department of State Health Services imposed a $1,000 per day fine against Ethicus Hospital Grapevine, a specialty hospital, for a nine day period in 2010 when staff delayed in obtaining treatment for a patient with an open pressure sore. By the time that medical care was implemented, the patient’s pressure sore had progressed so extensively that the wound needed to be treated surgically with a procedure known as a debridement.
While a fine in this circumstance is indeed significant because it represents the severity of the threat to the overall health of the patient involved, I’m sure the fine gives little solace to the patient whom had to undergo a serious medical procedure and likely suffered from diminished quality of life.