My guess is that you’d be hard pressed to find any person– out of all the people admitted to hospitals this very day– who is aware of the fact that they are at an increased risk for developing pressure sores based on the very fact that they are in the hospital.
Pressure sores acquired during a hospitalization are one of the most devastating problems facing patients in all demographics and with various types of conditions. The fact remains that thousands of hospital patients will develop a pressure sore during their hospitalization this year.
This is not a new trend. Rather hospital acquired pressure sores have long been a problem facing the young and old during the time they spend in hospitals. However, unlike other medical complications that have been addressed over the past decade, pressure sores related to a hospitalization remain an untamed dragon.
The most recent study on medical errors related to hospitalizations, the seventh annual HealthGrades Patient Study in American Hospitals should convince any skeptics out there that pressure sores (also referred to as: bed sores, pressure sores or pressure ulcers) acquired during a hospitalization are a real– and growing problem.
In making this determination, the study evaluated medical records from 39.5 million hospitalizations at 5,000 hospitals across the country based on standards set forth by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The studies findings indicate:
- Pressure sores are the second most common patient safety incident with a development rate of 36.05 incidents out of every 1,000 hospitalizations
- Medical treatment related to treatment of hospital-acquired pressure sores results in $2.64 billion in costs
So what does this study really tell us?
Pressure sores are not just a problem facing nursing home patients. Hospitals must acknowledge the fact that pressure sores are a real threat to patient well-being and train staff regarding early identification and treatment.
My hope is that by by focusing more attention on pressure sore prevention, future hospital patients can avoid the pain, embarrassment and risk associated with this ailment.
Pressure Sores Are Preventable
When high-risk patients are properly identified and preventative measure such as: regular turning, personal care, nutrition and pressure relieving mattresses are provided, the incidence of pressure sores acquired during a hospitalization can be minimized.
It’s not just me claiming this! Medicare has placed hospital-based pressure sores on its ‘never list’ — its list of medical errors that are so easily preventable that they should never happen. No longer can hospitals seek reimbursement from Medicare for pressure sore related medical treatment if the wound developed during an admission to their facility.
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