Earlier today, the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority released an advisory
that hospital-acquired pressure ulcers remain a top concern for hospitals
across the state. According to the advisory:
PA hospitals reported
over 19,000 pressure ulcer events (recognized safety concerns) in 2013.
- PA healthcare facilities reported 33,545 events involving impaired skin
integrity in 2013 - a majority of which were hospital reported pressure ulcers.
- Nearly 30% of pressure ulcers reported from 2007-2013
- Reports of pressure ulcers from 2007 - 2013 reveal alarming rates and show
need for improved protocol.
Pressure ulcers - also known as bedsores - are a form of injuries to the
skin and underlying tissue that occur when there is prolonged pressure
applied to the skin. They often affect individuals who are unable to move
or regularly change positions when lying down. In hospital settings, health
care providers typically set programs to avoid the development of pressure
ulcers in bedridden patients. Pressure sores can range in severity from
Stage I (redness, slightly dark pigmented skin) to Stage IV and severe
deep tissue injuries.
In addition to providing extensive supporting evidence regarding the frequency
and severity of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, the advisory reminds
us that Medicare changes in 2008 defined pressure ulcers as “never”
events. Regulatory and financial incentives were also created for hospitals
to prevent them.
As evidenced by data in the advisory,
hospital-acquired pressure uclers remain a significant problem in Pennsylvania hospitals. To address this issue, safety officials are
working with specialists to establish best practices for pressure ulcer
risk assessment and prevention. In hospitals where similar programs have
been adopted, rates of pressure sores have declined.
Negligence is the leading cause of pressure ulcers at hospitals, nursing
homes, and other health care facilities. In cases where patients develop
bedsores as a result of negligent care, victims and their families may
have the right to pursue compensation for their damages by filing a
medical malpractice personal injury claim.
If you would like more information about pressure sores and medical malpractice
- of if you wish to discuss your case personally with a lawyer -
call Shrager & Sachs for a FREE case review.