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How Many Hospital Patients Suffer From Bed Sores?

By Nursing Home Law Center

Hospital Patients

One of the largest studies regarding bed sores in a hospital setting was carried out by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The report concluded that hospitalizations for bed sores (also called decubitus ulcers, pressure ulcers, pressure sores) have increased by more than 80% from 1993 to 2006. This increase includes people who were admitted to the hospital because of pressure sores or developed them while being treated for another condition in the hospital.

Among some of the more startling finding in the report include:

  • In 2006, there were 503,300 hospital stays with pressure ulcers noted as a diagnosis–an increase of nearly 80% since 1993. The pressure ulcer stays totaled $11 billion in hospital costs.

  • More than 90% of the pressure ulcer-related hospitalizations were intended to be for medical conditions unrelated to pressure ulcer treatment.

  • Compared to stays for all other medical conditions, hospital stays related to pressure ulcers were more often discharged to and long-term care facility and more likely to result in death.

  • 72% of adults hospitalized with a secondary pressure sore diagnosis were 65 or older. In comparison 56.5% of adult patients had a principal diagnosis of pressure ulcers were 65 or older.

  • Medicare was the biggest payer for hospital stays related to pressure ulcers- Medicare paid the bills for 3 out of 4 pressure ulcer stays.

  • Paralysis and spinal cord injury were common co-existing conditions among younger adults hospitalized principally for pressure ulcers.

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