Nursing Home Pressure Ulcers Occurred in 11% of Residents in 2004

Carl Saiontz

By Carl Saiontz
Posted February 23, 2009


According to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 11% of nursing home residents suffered from pressure ulcers in 2004. These painful and potentially life-threatening sores remain a serious problem at facilities throughout the country, and in many cases nursing home pressure sores can be prevented if certain steps are taken.

Pressure ulcers, which are also commonly referred to as decubitus ulcers, pressure sores or bed sores, are a serious and greatly overlooked problem in many nursing homes. They occur when prolonged pressure is allowed to be placed on one part of the body, decreasing blood circulation in the skin.

When a resident is unable to reposition themselves, they rely on the nursing home staff to make sure that they are not left in a position to develop these painful and debilitating open wounds. Pressure ulcers do not develop instantaneously, but start with red or irritated skin and can progress to deep open wounds, which could become infected and ultimately may lead to death.

>>INFORMATION: Identify Pressure Ulcers in Nursing Homes

According to a CDC report published last week titled “Pressure Ulcers Among Nursing Home Residents: United States, 2004,” national survey data from 2004 found that about 159,000 residents (11.%) developed nursing home pressure ulcers. The most commonly encountered were Stage II bedsores, which are characterized as blisters or shallow craters where the outer layer of skin dies.

Other interesting data from the surveys indicated:

  • Younger residents who are under 65 years old were found to be more likely than older residents to develop nursing home pressure sores
  • Residents who were at the nursing home for a year or less were more likely to develop bedsores than those with longer stays
  • One in five (20%) of residents with recent weight loss developed pressures ulcers
  • Approximately 35% of residents who developed a more severe pressure ulcer categorized as Stage 2 or higher, received special wound care services

Previous research has established that the risk of nursing home pressure ulcers can be greatly reduced with better education of nursing home staff about prevention and with simple preventative measures to identify those at a high risk for bedsores, such as those with mobility problems, poor nutrition or incontinence.

>>PRIOR POST (2/22/2008): Prevent Nursing Home Bedsores


The nursing home neglect lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. investigate potential pressure ulcer lawsuits throughout the United States to determine if the painful and debilitating sores could have been prevented with the exercise of reasonable standards of care.

In many cases, nursing home’s may be responsible for the development of ulcers for failing to check the residents regularly, failing to obtain immediate treatment when signs of a sore develop, leaving the resident in the same position for long periods of time, not giving proper fluids or nutrition or letting moisture develop next to the skin by not replacing wet bed sheets or soiled adult diapers.

To review a potential case with one of our nursing home pressure sore attorneys, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.

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