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Pressure Sores In Hospitals On The Rise

An increasing number of number of pressure sore cases my office is working on involve pressure sores that have developed during a hospitalization.  What was once considered a sad symbol of poor nursing home care, is now increasingly associated with poor hospital care.  Many of our clients who enter a hospital for acute care, wind up extending their hospitalization due to the development of a pressure sore during their stay.

Federal and State regulations require nursing homes to conduct a thorough assessment of all new admissions.  The assessment evaluates the individuals skin integrity and attempts to determine who is susceptible to develop of pressure sores.  This initial assessment is designed to help nursing home staff implement preventative pressure sore care.

Pressure Sores In Hospitals On The RiseHospitals on the other hand, are not governed by the same regulations and consequently are not as attuned to pressure sore prevention.  Many hospitals fail to train their staff to identify pressure sore risk and implement policies for pressure sore prevention.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the number of hospital patients who develop pressure sores (also known as pressure ulcers, bed sores or decubitus ulcers) has increased by 63% since 1996.

Pressure sores are caused by unrelieved pressure to the skin which cuts off blood circulation to the area.  Hospitalized seniors are particularly vulnerable to development of pressure sores because many have limited mobility and may be bedridden.

Further increasing the risk of pressure sores amongst the elderly is the fact that many seniors have lost a considerable amount of muscle and fat that would normally help relieve the pressure in younger people.  Most pressure sores develop in areas where there is a ‘bony’ prominence.  Common areas where pressure sores develop are: the sacrum, coccyx, heels, elbows and ankles.

Pressure sores are graded by their severity (1, 2, 3 and 4).  A stage 1 pressure sore may be a reddened area with some blistering.  By the time a pressure sore advances to stage 4, a deep wound has developed and may also involve organs and bones.  The AHRQ determined the average duration of a hospital stay for treatment of pressure sores to be 13 days, with an average cost of $37,500.

Pressure sores are preventable.  Hospital staff need to focus on patients factors and takehospital necessary steps to assure patients remain free from pressure sores during their stay.  Among the steps hospitals need to take to prevent development of pressure sores are:

  • Changes resident’s positioning every two hours
  • Use pressure relieving air mattresses
  • Make sure patients are receiving proper nutrition
  • Keep the resident clean and dry

We can help you

Don’t let hospitals get away with providing substandard care. If you or a loved one has developed a pressure sore during a hospitalization, put our experience litigating pressure sore cases to work for you.  We have successfully recovered money for our clients from hospitals throughout the country. Contact the pressure sore lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center for a personalized case consultation. All consultations are confidential.   We will come to you.

Resource: About.com

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  • Arlenear2

    I know, first hand, about hospital acquired bedsores. I had 2 from my hospital stay at Jacobi Medical Center, in the Bronx, NY. To add insult to injury, the hospital outright lied about the size and stage of one the bedsores and never mentioned the other one. The reason is because all stage 3 and 4 bedsores have to be reported to the state. Hence, the motive for the hospital to lie in the medical records and note a stage 3 as a stage 2, and to record the size half of what it actually is. Yes, outright lies in the medical records…..they record that I was turned every 2 hours when the fact is I was never turned at all in the 2.5 weeks that I was a patient there. But, the lies started way before the bedsores did. Example…The primary doctor stated in the hospital records that upon my arrival to the hospital, when he asked for my height and weight, that I verbally informed him that I measure 5′ – 6.5 ” tall, and that I weighed 140 lbs. Fact is I am 5′-1.5″ in height and my weight was 120 lbs, so there are big discrepencies there, but I digress.
    All I want to convey to readers is that hospital staff do lie when it is convenient and beneficial to them. Patients, and their families, have to be made aware that cases of bedsores (pressure ulcers), have more than doubled in the past 15 years, so they should be vigilant in making certain that the nurses are actually implimenting bedsore prevention protocols and not just saying they are doing it.

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