Medical Facilities Slow to Recognize how Decubitus Ulcers Impact Their Bottom Line

By Nursing Home Law Center


Pressure sores, also known as decubitus ulcers, are most commonly found amongst elderly and immobile patients. These elderly and immobile patients are most commonly found in medical facilities such as hospitals and long-term care facilities.

The nursing staff that is in charge of taking care of these elderly and immobile patients is not always up to par on with their management methods, and many of their patients are ignored and neglected. If any attention is given to the patients, it is minimal, with a quick check up of the patient.

Pressure Sores and Early Detection

Pressure sores are hard to detect in patients mainly due to their conspicuous locations underneath the body. Therefore, pressure sores are failed to be detected for many days, as many of the patients are unable to inform their nurses. The pressure sores are noticed after many days, when the nurses finally have time to do a full checkup or when the patient is moved for bathing purposes. By this time, the sores have developed into large open wounds, and are most often, infected.

Medical facilities can be very inefficient in recognizing the bed sores immediately. Bed sores can be treated easily when found in the early stages. As the pressure sores progress, the treatment options become much more severe and dangerous. Many people have suffered greater complications due to the infections and side effects of invasive and delayed treatment.

Impacts of Pressure Sores on Medical Facilities

  1. The nursing home or facility will be held responsible for the pain and suffering the individual has incurred during their stay with them that led to bed sores.

  2. Negative feedback from families and patients.

  3. Loss of credibility, respect and reputation.

  4. Financial loss – they will be fined a great deal by the government and health inspectors.

  5. Financial loss – will have to settle large settlements, sometimes worth millions of dollars. In the US, more than 17,000 pressure sore lawsuits are filed.

  6. The medical facilities will have to cover the high costs of pressure sore treatments, which can range from US$ 20,900 to US$ 151,700.

Medical facilities must take steps to ensure that their facility it taking care of their patients properly and diagnosing bed sores early on. They can take many steps:

  1. An awareness program can be initialized, highlighting the financial losses the facility incurs, and the negative impact it has on their patients.

  2. A strict management system, which ensures that immobile patients are checked and turned regularly during the day.

  3. An installment of monitoring devices, such as bed monitors which will record the amount of movement of the individual in a given day.

  4. A training system in the detection and prevention of bed sores, extended to all the members of the staff. It is a combined effort, everyone should be on board.

Making it clear to the staff and the administrative board just how damaging the effects of bed sores are, both financially for the company and physically for the patient, will put priorities into perspective for everyone. For the sake of the facility, and especially for the sake of the patients, early detection of pressure sores is imperative.

Related Information

Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Resources

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