This week’s news kicks off with a look at a study from UCLA School of Nursing released in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. It links hospital bed sores and patient mortality rates. This study focuses on pressure ulcers that the patient acquires during their stay at the hospital.
Hospital Pressure Ulcers
The authors surveyed Medicare hospital patient data for patients who acquired bedsores while in the hospital. This population of patients were more likely to die, and more likely to have an extended hospital stay and more likely to have other complications associated with their illness than those who didn’t get sores while in the hospital.
Medicare continues to crack down on hospital-based problems and things that are preventable. We talked about the Medicare crackdown last week as the new Medicare rules from the Affordable Care Act kick in. Those rules focus on re-admissions for preventable issues. Pressure ulcer formation is one of those things that we (nurses) can be preventing. Hospital bedsores are completely preventable.
Over-Burdened Nurses and Patient Outcomes
I know are nurses are busy but there needs to be time found to deal with this. The most common areas for bedsores in the study are not surprising. It includes the sacral area or tailbone, the hips, and the heels. These are the areas that were most readily identified as locations for bedsores and it tells me that these patients weren’t being turned regularly and kept off of these pressure points.
This research shows that this is not just a patient comfort issue, pressure ulcers put these patients on the path where they are more likely to have higher mortality rates and other associated complications. We need to get into position to focus on revisiting these very basic nursing skills and let’s take care of our patients the way that we would want to be taken care of in their place. I know this is a difficult thing that sometimes you have a large number of patients to deal with but you’ve got to really educate your support staff on this and get them to help back you up with the care that is needed.
Find the links to this news item and all the additional resources from this episode of the Nursing Show here – Therapeutic Hypothermia Applied and Episode 213.