Simple strategies can help prevent nursing home bedsores

Carl Saiontz

By Carl Saiontz
Posted February 22, 2008


It has been estimated that as many as two million Americans each year suffer from bedsores in nursing homes and hospitals. In many cases, these bedsores lead to infections, resulting in serious injury or even death. With simple preventative strategies and proper care, the risk of hospital and nursing home bedsores can be substantially reduced.

>>INFORMATION: Identifying Nursing Home Bedsores

Earlier this week, an article in the New York Times discussed ways that hospitals and nursing homes can better prevent bedsores with a team approach. Research suggests that diligent care and attention by caregivers, nurses, nursing assistants, nutritionists and even maintenance workers in hospitals and nursing homes, can help avoid many of the severe injuries suffered each year throughout the country.

Bedsores, which are also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, are a very serious problem faced by nursing home residents and hospital patients who are often confined to a bed for extended periods of time. Sustained pressure on one body part over a long period time can reduce the blood circulation and cause the skin to break down. Bedsores often start as a red or irritated area of skin, and if they go undetected and untreated, they can eventually progress to a painful, open wound that can become infected.

A study published last year in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, examined the results of a collaborative program that included 52 different nursing homes around the country. The goal of the program was to better educate nursing home staff about bedsore prevention and to encourage the development and implementation of simple preventative measures. Researchers who examined the data found that consistent, multidisciplinary team efforts were successful in reducing the occurrence of severe pressure ulcers by 69 percent.

A key to the program’s success was identifying patients at a higher risk for nursing home bedsores, such as those suffering from mobility problems, poor nutrition or incontinence. Facilities involved staff from all departments to come up with different ways to make it easier to recognize these patients in day to day proceedings.

With the simple and cost-effective strategies, the incidence of severe bedsores were drastically reduced once high risk patients were identified. Consistent measures were taken to prevent bedsores, such as moving and repositioning patients more frequently, using padding or cushions to reduce pressure on any one part of the body and using moisture barrier creams.

These same procedures could be implemented at nursing homes throughout the country to reduce the risk of these painful, debilitating and sometimes fatal bedsores. Unfortunately, the quality of nursing home care provided at many facilities falls short of what it should, and nursing home neglect results in many preventable bedsores.


The Nursing Home Lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. investigate potential bedsore lawsuits throughout the United States. If you, a friend or family member have suffered from severe pressure sores while a resident in a nursing home or hospital, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.

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