Hispanic Nursing Home Patients are More Likely to Suffer From Pressure Ulcers

By Nursing Home Law Center

Researchers at Brown University have concluded that nursing homes with a higher percentage of Hispanic residents have higher rates of pressure ulcers than similar facilities with a predominately Caucasian population.

Review of Nursing Home Data

Hispanic Nursing Home Patient

The studies’ results were based on data sourced from the National Repository of the Minimum Data Set (MDS), a mandatory assessment of all nursing home patients, and surveys of all nursing home residents sourced at the Oscar Database System. The findings of the Brown University study are detailed in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In addition the national databases, the Brown study analyzed data from all nursing home residents over 65-year-old living in: California, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and Colorado.

Vincent Mor, Chair of the Department of Community Health and head of the Brown study, headed a similar study in 2007 when he confirmed that African American nursing home patients had higher rates of complications than their peers. That study determined that the problems amongst the African American nursing home patients was the worst in the Midwest.

Read more about the results of this nursing home survey here.

Pressure Ulcers are not an Isolated Problem Facing Minorities

A bed sore (similarly referred to as: pressure sore, pressure ulcer or decubitus ulcer) is an area of skin that dies when pressure on the area goes unrelieved for an extended period of time. Frequently found in disabled or bedridden patients (even in younger patients), the steady pressure against the skin cuts off the blood supply to that area– resulting in death of skin, muscle and tissue. If the wound progresses, the wound may ‘open’ exposing the underlying layers of muscle and– even bone.

The most common areas for pressure ulcers to form are on areas of the body where increased pressure is put on the body as a person lays down or where there is a limited amount of flesh covering the underlying bone. Pressure ulcers are commonly found in the following areas:

  • Elbow
  • Heels
  • Hips
  • Ankles
  • Shoulders
  • Back
  • Back of the head

Pressure ulcers are preventable in the overwhelming majority of situations. The first step in pressure ulcer prevention is to complete an initial assessment of all new patients– and to re-assess patients on a regular basis. After the medical facilities have determined which patients are at a heightened risk for developing bed sores, a customized care plan should be developed. Most care plans include: frequent rotation (every two hours) of patients to discourage sitting in one area for long periods, pressure relieving air mattresses and special enhanced nutrition diets.

Minorities in Nursing Homes

Communication barriers are a primary reason why we tend to see higher rates of pressure ulcers in nursing homes with large percentages of minority patients. Nursing homes should take necessary efforts to hire bilingual staff to assist patients both in communicating their needs to the staff and advising doctors as the patients needs. Simple breakdown in communication, can result in serious threats to patient safety or even episodes of patient injury.

My office has zealously represented people with diverse backgrounds including: Hispanics, Japanese, Chinese, Israeli, Vietnamese, Russian and Italian. When it comes to representation of the injured, I believe in justice for all.

Related Information

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