legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
For an Individual, how Much Does it Cost to Treat Bed Sores?
The cost of treatment for bedsores largely depends on the wound itself. The wounds vary from painful annoyances to conditions that can bring deadly consequences and complications to the patient. Pressure sores bring all sorts of costs to the patients, from monetary expenses to a decreased quality of life.
The direct costs for treating a pressure sore depend on factors such as the stage of the wound and the severity. A wound in Stage I or Stage II is relatively easier to treat than a wound in Stage III or Stage IV, which requires intense medical intervention. The direct costs for pressure ulcer treatment range between $2,000 and $20,000. The exact figures per stage are as follows:
- Stage I ($1,912)
- Stage II ($8,255)
- Stage III ($14,240)
- Stage IV ($22,222)
These costs are not set in stone and can sometimes be much more. According to the United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) report, each pressure sore in a patient added $43,180 in costs to a hospital stay. In addition, a study done to urge for quicker, cost-effective procedures by using external tissue expansion demonstrated that the paid claims for a man who used surgery for his Stage IV wound resulted in $242,350, which included $52,992 in negative pressure wound therapy costs.
The costs for patients of pressure ulcers are not simply monetary expenses. This condition often creates physiological and psychological complications and can even lead to mortality. In addition, the patients face other indirect costs, such as:
- Time and earning potential lost from work
- Financial and emotional impact on patient’s families
- Forced early retirement for younger patients
- Other expenses associated with morbidity and mortality
Every year, there are more than 17,000 lawsuits filed related to pressure sores. This is the second-most-common claim after wrongful death, and it is more prominent than emotional distress or falls. While the legal costs for a patient may have significance, the benefits from a successful settlement outweigh the costs. The average settlement of a pressure sore lawsuit is up to $250,000. A study found that 87% of settlements usually favor patients, with some awards reaching as high as $312 million. Certain attorneys also provide incentives such as free consultations and no costs until the patient receives a settlement.
Incentives for Bedsore Prevention
Hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities also face their own costs related to pressure sore cases. For example, in October 2004, as mandated under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare can penalize a hospital with high rates of hospital-acquired infections, such as pressure sores, up to 1%. This penalty occurs because these events are “never” events, as in they should never happen. In addition, studies show that prevention tactics in general are more cost effective to facilities than treatments.
Between penalties, treatment costs, and litigation losses, there are incentives for medical facilities to improve stay conditions and prevent the creation of pressure sores in patients and residents. Most preventative tactics are cost effective in comparison to the costs of treatment and are usually basic care standards. Some of these prevention tactics include:
- Repositioning and constant movement of the patient to avoid pressure
- Using pressure relief surfaces such as specialized cushions, pillows, and mattresses
- Ensuring wellness of the patient’s nutrition, skin, and cleanliness
- Paying attention to possible early-stage pressure sores before they escalate
Compensation for Costs
The treatment of bedsores can lead to some large direct and indirect expenses that can negatively affect you and your family. If negligence by a nursing home staff has caused you or a loved one a pressure sore, you have a right to compensation. Contact Nursing Home Law Center LLC for a free consultation and the opportunity to claim damages.
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- Preventing Pressure Ulcers in Hospitals
- Long‐Term Care Liability for Pressure Ulcers
- Costs of Pressure Ulcer Prevention
- Bedsores (pressure ulcers)