A recently released study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") found that more than one in 10 nursing home residents had a pressure ulcer (pressure sore, bed sore, bedsore, decubitus ulcer) in
The report found that approximately 159,000 nursing home
residents—11% of the total—had some form of pressure ulcer (pressure sore, bed sore, bedsore, decubitus ulcer) that year.
Stage two pressure ulcers were the most prevalent, the report found.
Younger residents who experienced shorter lengths of stay also were
more likely to have pressure ulcers (pressure sore, bed sore, bedsore, decubitus ulcer). Only 35% of those with
pressure ulcers stage two or higher (more severe) received special
wound care treatment, according to the CDC.
The report, "Pressure Ulcers Among Nursing Home Residents: United
States, 2004," was based on data from the 2004 National Nursing Home Survey, which sampled
responses from more than 14,000 nursing home residents around the
country. The CDC report is featured in this article. The original and complete report can be found online at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/upcoming.htm.
prevention of pressure ulcers (pressure sores, bed sores, bedsores,
decubitus ulcers) includes good hygiene, frequent turning and
repositioning, good nutrition, and the use of support surfaces that
minimize and redistribute pressure while patients are in bed
Effective pressure ulcer (pressure sore, bed sore, bedsore,
decubitus ulcer) treatment in the past has included hydrogel dressings,
which create a moist environment for proper healing and can be used to
debride wounds. Newer therapies are also being used: silver
therapies; negative pressure; non-contact ultrasound; and bioengineered
skin grafting. Once healed, most pressure ulcers (pressure sore, bed
sore, bedsore, decubitus ulcer) redevelop because direct care providers
relax their preventative efforts and permit continued pressure on the
areas around the healed wounds. Effective training and staff education
is critical to proper pressure ulcer (pressure sore, bed sore, bedsore,
decubitus ulcer) prevention, the timely and accurate identification of
these wounds, and to their treatment.
The single most
important way in which pressure ulcers (pressure sores, bed sores,
bedsores, decubitus ulcers) are prevented and treated is adequate
staffing. When nursing homes and assisted living facilities are
adequately staffed, they are able to meet and sometimes exceed the
needs of patients who are at risk for developing pressure ulcers. In
those cases, pressure ulcers (pressure sores, bed sores,
bedsores, decubitus ulcers) either don't develop or, once developed,
heal quickly and without complication.
When, however, facilities are understaffed, patients seldom
receive proper hygiene, seldom are turned and repositioned as
frequently as they need to be, do not receive proper nutritional
support, and are not given support surfaces that help prevent and treat
these wounds. Unless and until nursing homes and assisted living
facilities properly staff themselves, pressure ulcers will continue to occur. All pressure ulcers
are preventable and avoidable.
Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is
dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing
home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke,
Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.
Posted on Fri, February 20, 2009
by Robert Carter