“Pressure Sensing” System Could Detect Pressure & Eliminate Bed Sores

By Nursing Home Law Center

Pressure Sensing System

Leaf Healthcare, Inc. has released white paper outlining four reasons why reducing the development of bedsores is fiscally responsible. Statistics maintained by AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality) indicate that more than $11 billion are spent each year to treat pressure ulcers in the US healthcare system. Because facility-acquired bedsores are considered preventable, there are significant government penalties and associated litigation that severely impact the performance matrix of hospitals nationwide.

The problem with facility-acquired bedsores is substantial, where one out of every 30 patients hospitalized in the US will develop a decubitus ulcer. Additionally, pressure ulcers (decubitus ulcers; bedsores; pressure sores) are known to have a serious negative impact on the quality of life, morbidity and mortality in the elderly, sick and infirm. The problem of developing bedsores is expected to grow in the future as the aging population demands more nursing home and hospital beds for treatment, recovery and care.

Financial Reasons for Medical Facilities to Stop Bedsores

Leaf Healthcare has announced the benefits of using their “pressure sensing” system as an effective way to detect pressure and eliminate the potential of a developing bedsore. The sensor sends valuable data to caregivers outlining the current positioning and lack of mobility of the patient.

The white paper released by Leaf Healthcare details four specific financial reasons why reducing the development of pressure sores is crucial. These reasons include:

  • Direct Cost – The actual costs of treating a developing bedsore rely solely on its severity. However, the expense commonly ranges between $2000 and $21,000 per incident. The cost increments based on its severity where Stage I sores typically cost approximately $2000, Stage II ulcers can cost upwards to $10,000, Stage III sores can cost nearly $15,000 and life-threatening Stage IV pressure ulcers can cost more than $21,000 to treat.

  • Cost to Patients – Statistics maintained by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) indicate that nearly 60,000 individuals die every year from pressure ulcers. Survivors tend to experience diminished quality of life and associated pain along with indirect expenses including the cost associated with forced early retirement, lost wages, diminished family life and the cost of mobility/mortality.

  • Penalties – Hospitals are penalized for facility-acquired bedsores at a rate of 1% of their reimbursement for every Medicare patient.

  • Civil Litigation – Over 17,000 bedsore-related lawsuits are filed each year in the United States, which ranks second in civil litigation behind wrongful death lawsuits.

The Benefits of Repositioning Patients

Since the time of Florence Nightingale, the best nursing practices when providing treatment to mobility-challenge patients have involved repositioning, especially for individuals who have a higher potential risk of developing a bedsore. The NPUAP (National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel) recently updated their guidelines for providing treatment to patients requiring repositioning to eliminate the potential of developing a facility-acquired pressure sore. The guideline includes:

  • Routinely Conduct Comprehensive Risk Assessments – Identify every patient in the facility with the potential risk of developing bedsores and reassessed any time their medical condition changes significantly.

  • Perform a Complete Skin Inspection – Upon hospital admittance, the patient’s skin must be inspected and evaluated with particular focus to bony prominences including the heels, ankles, sacrum, shoulders, hips and back of the head. A follow-up inspection should be completed no less than two times each day.

  • Take Preventative Skincare Measures – Ensure that the skin remains clean and dry and follow an individualized continence health care plan.

  • Reposition the Patient – The patient must be repositioned at least one time every hour and a half to two hours to alleviate pressure on bony areas of the body.

  • Regularly Inspect Heels to Prevent Heel Bedsores – The nursing staff can alleviate pressure by utilizing heel suspension devices.

  • Consider the Patient’s Level of Inactivity – The patient’s inactivity and immobility must be evaluated to reduce the potential of shear forces causing a bedsore.

When used in unison with comprehensive risk assessments and routine skin inspections, the new Leaf Healthcare pressure sensing system has the potential of minimizing the development of bedsores.

What to do When You Learn Your Loved One has a Pressure Sore

Hospital-acquired bedsores are a major threat to today’s healthcare system. The nursing home abuse attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center LLC (800) 926-7565 can take immediate legal steps to ensure the health and well-being of you or your loved one suffering a facility-acquired bedsore. We accept these types of cases on contingency and are only paid for our services after we win your case at trial or negotiate an acceptable amount of compensation through an out-of-court settlement.

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