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.