Hospital-acquired bedsores are a major concern in today’s health care industry. This is because bedsores (pressure sores; pressure ulcers; decubitus ulcers) can be easily prevented through proven nursing practices and protocols. In 2008, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) changed their policy of paying the exorbitant expense incurred in treating a hospital-acquired bedsore, […]
Category : Bed Sore In Hospital
Medical Malpractice: Pressure Ulcers in Hospitals
Pressure ulcers, also known as decubitus ulcers, pressure sores and bedsores, are a common problem in hospital settings nationwide. The skin lesion often results in significant pain and at times leads to serious infection. While many individuals seek medical care because of a pressure ulcer, some patients acquire them after being admitted in a hospital setting.
A pressure ulcer usually develops when patients are stationary in a bed or chair for extended periods without the ability to reposition. The bedsore is usually a result of restricted blood flow to the patient’s skin. Cutting off blood flow can temporarily or permanently damage skin tissue, requiring extensive care.
A Proactive Approach Necessary To Recognize The Risks Posed To Hospital Patients
Some hospital network systems are implementing proactive approaches to minimize the potential of patients developing pressure ulcers. This action is happening due to the desire to provide a higher level of care, and because of the policy change by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid), which stopped reimbursing hospitals for providing treatment for pressure ulcers acquired by patients while under hospital care.
Preventing pressure ulcers in hospitals is a serious problem and usually requires interdisciplinary approaches to health care. Some parts of preventative care are the result of routine health management in the hospital setting. However, at some point, skin care management will need to be tailored to specific patients suffering from bedsores to improve the outcome of their condition.
Hospitals taking a proactive approach can make significant improvements in managing patients with bedsores, or minimizing the potential of pressure ulcers developing. These changes for improvement include:
- Daily inspection of the patient’s skin
- Manage the patient’s skin moisture
- Perform a pressure ulcer assessment when patients are admitted
- Minimize the amount of pressure on the skin through movement or devices
- Optimize the patient’s hydration and nutrition
- Reassess the patient’s potential risk of pressure ulcer development each day
A Preventable Problem With Many Disabled Hospital Patients At Risk
Even though nearly every type of pressure ulcer is preventable through simple measures, bedsores are still an increasing problem in healthcare facilities nationwide. This is often the result of lack of training, the high workload demand on nurses and aides and/or a lack of adequate staffing.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stopped reimbursing hospitals and medical facilities for any pressure ulcer classified as stage III or stage IV, if the bedsore was obtained after the patient was admitted. This was a direct result of a joint commission study in 2009 attempting to address facility-acquired bedsores.
It was the hope of the joint commission to move the cost of treating bedsores acquired in the hospital to the facility as an incentive to minimize the development of pressure ulcers in hospitals. Unfortunately, even with the new ruling, many hospitals still continually fail to follow well-established guidelines using provable measures known to prevent developing pressure ulcers.
Innovative Solutions To A Pressure Sore Epidemic
Innovative solutions are available for hospital staff and administrators to minimize the potential of patients developing facility-acquired pressure ulcers after the patient is admitted. Some of these solutions include:
- Regular Assessment – The medical staff can examine every patient during admission to the hospital using assessment tools including the Braden Scale. The evaluation should include assessing bony prominences on the patient, especially on the heels, sacrum, coccyx and ankles. Assessments should be repeated routinely at 24-hour intervals until the patient is discharged.
- Signs and Symptoms – With routine assessments, the nursing staff can identify any patient measuring 18 or less on a Braden Score, and take proactive measures including repositioning the patient in the bed throughout the day.
- Moisture Management – The nursing staff and aides can use disposable, pre-moistened barrier wipes for protecting, deodorizing and cleansing the perennial skin of the patient. In addition, dry flow pads can be placed under the patient to manage incontinence.
- Pressure Redistribution – Hospitals using pressure redistribution mattresses in the facility tend to have fewer problems of facility-acquired pressure ulcers. Ensuring that every mattress in the facility reduces the potential of pressure ulcer development eliminates the need to obtain a physician’s order for a special bed.
Hiring An Attorney When Hospital Negligence Is Responsible for a Loved One’s Bed Sore
Unfortunately, negligence in hospitals and medical facilities kill more individuals every year compared to car accidents. Many times, pressure ulcers in hospitals are caused through abuse or neglect. Because the occurrence of bedsores is preventable, it seems inexcusable that any patient develops a decubitus ulcer while under the care of hospital staff.
If you or a loved one developed a pressure ulcer after being admitted to a hospital facility, you likely have the right to sue for medical malpractice. However, based on the Statute of Limitations applicable to your particular situation, time to file your claim may be running out. For an initial free consultation to review your hospital bed sore claim, call Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers at (888) 424-5757 to ensure your rights are protected.
A recent article in Britain’s Daily Mail says that hospital-acquired bed sores continue to plague England’s National Health System in alarming numbers. “Bed sores affected 412,000 NHS patients, and killed 4,708 people between 2003 and 2008,” the article states. The Daily Mail obtained its statistics from “Dr. Foster,” a part-public, part-private watchdog organization that analyses […]
Medicaid has recently announced that it will no longer reimburse hospitals for “never events,” or 28 preventable conditions that should never happen in a qualified hospital. “Never events” include: falls that result in injury, catheter-related infections and severe bed sores (also called “pressure ulcers.”) The new rules, mandated by the Affordable Care Act, went into […]
A chain of hospitals based in St. Louis set out on a mission in 2007— eliminate any harm befalling patients that could be otherwise prevented. BJC HealthCare noticed that pressure sores accounted for roughly two thirds of the preventable conditions that occurred under the watch of their hospital staffs. While other healthcare companies deemed pressure […]
The New York State Supreme Court has awarded $5.4 million to a Staten Island man who suffered from severe bed sores during a 2006 hospital stay, according to SI Live. The plaintiff, 63-year-old Robert Messina, will receive the majority of payment from the Staten Island University Hospital. On the morning of August 31, 2006, Messina […]
A study conducted by the Las Vegas Sun found that Nevada hospitals grossly underreport incidences of advanced bed sores. The two-year study, which analyzed hospital billing data, said that 72 ulcers occurred during 2008-2009 – a 99 percent discrepancy from the one bed sore that “officially” went reported. According to Ken Terry, a former senior […]
Some hospitals have forgotten that they have a duty to both tend to their patients’ acute condition as well as their overall medical care needs. As the largest organ in the body, hospitals must remember to take care of the patient’s skin. When skin care goes ignored, hospital patients are prone to develop bed sores […]
Pressure sores (also referred to as bed sores, pressure ulcers, or decubitus ulcers) are an all too common and painful problem for nursing home residents. Most pressure sores are preventable and are caused by faulty care where the nursing home or hospital does provide adequate care to prevent and treat bed sores. Patients vulnerable to developing pressure sores are the elderly, people who are […]
Even in large metropolitan areas like Chicago, IL patients in nursing homes, hospitals and other types of senior living facilities continue to suffer from a medical complication that has been around as long as history books have been written— bed sores. While some facilities suggest that the development of bed sores is an inevitable part […]
A former patient at Beaumont’s Memorial Hermann Baptist Hospital has sued two of the hospital’s doctors, claiming that they delayed treatment and caused unnecessary complications, including a stage 3 bed sore. According to the Southeast Texas Record, Ronald Lee Phillips, Sr. was admitted to Memorial Hermann on Oct. 29, 2006, for two consecutive seizures. The […]
Two recent studies published in Health Affairs indicate that post-operative pressure sores are among the most costly injuries caused by medical error, according to MedPageToday.com. Of the ten costliest medical errors, pressure ulcers ranked No. 2, second only to postoperative infections. Other common errors included infection due to a central venous catheter, infection following a […]
The hospital chart of an elderly loved one can be a confusing morass of letters, scribbles and numbers. Yet the numeric “codes” on each person’s chart are essential to receiving proper Medicare coverage. In a recent interview with The Hospitalist, two “documentation specialists” gave tips for understanding your loved one’s chart: 1. First, understand that universal […]
Pressure ulcers are indeed preventable in the overwhelming majority of circumstances. The key is to identify patients who are at risk quickly after their admission to a medical facility and timely– and effectively implement preventative measures such as regular pressure relief and ensuring patients remain clean and dry. Medicare has determined that pressure ulcers are […]
While most pressure sore cases may appear to be the result of negligence and complete disregard for the medical needs of a patient— and any resulting claim would want to speedily resolved by the facility. The fact remains that many cases involving the development of a pressure sore (similarly referred to as: bed sore, pressure […]
Some of my angriest clients contact me after a loved one was transferred from a nursing home to another nursing home or hospital only to learn of serious medical problems their loved one likely acquired during their original admission. Of course, breaking disappointing news is difficult for anyone to do. Yet, in the case of […]
California enacted a state law in July 2007 requiring hospitals to report “never events” (events that are never supposed to be allowed to happen). Never events include severe bedsores (stage 3 or 4), foreign objects left inside surgical patients, surgery performed on the wrong body part, surgery performed on the wrong patient, air embolism, blood […]
The term “never event” earned its name simply due to the fact the government determined that that the events should never happen in properly functioning hospitals. As an added incentive for hospitals to prevent these situations from occurring, the government will not reimburse hospitals for these medical errors. These events include: leaving foreign objects inside […]
Though surely an unanticipated complication, hospital-acquired decubitus ulcers(also referred to as: pressure ulcers, pressure sores or bed sores) remain a tremendous problem for patients and the hospital itself. Acknowledging the negative impact of decubitus ulcers, Texas Arlington Memorial Hospital set out to create a program to reduce the rate of hospital-acquired decubitus ulcers. Though hardly […]
Philadelphia jurors have spoken in a case involving the development of decubitus ulcers during a hospitalization and deterioration during a subsequent stay at a nursing home. Not only did they speak up, but the jurors stood up in a loud way, slapping $5 million in punitive damages on top of a $1 million compensatory award […]
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality released a report on hospital-acquired decubitus ulcers that has conclusively determined that hospital patients today are more likely to develop a decubitus ulcer during their admission than their counterparts 10 years ago. In fact, the rate of decubitus ulcers (pressure ulcers, pressure sores or bed sores) acquired during […]