Maryland Health Care Field Takes Action to Prevent Bedsores

Nursing homes and hospitals are working together in Baltimore, Maryland to reduce the amount of bed sores, or decubitus ulcers, that develop when patients stay in one position too long—restricting blood flow, which can lead to skin breakdown.

According to a recent report in the Baltimore Sun, Maryland has a higher than the national average of bed sore incidents in nursing homes and hospitals. The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel reported that in the second quarter of 2009, the national average of bed sores was 11 percent, with bed sores developing among 14 percent of residents staying in Maryland nursing homes.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that after a patient develops pressure sores, their stay in the hospital or nursing home, can double, even triple, with complications arising from bed sores such as osteomyelitis, or sepsis, which can also lead to wrongful death. The treatment of severe bed sores can reportedly cost as much as $55,000, and hospitals are often not reimbursed by insurers when a patient needs to stay longer as a result of a bed sore.

All stages of bed sores are preventable, as long as nursing home residents are provided with appropriate care, and nursing home staff is educated on bed sore prevention. In a statewide effort to reduce bedsores, the Maryland health care field is taking action, to prevent bedsores from developing, to prevent patient injury, and to reduce cost for the state.

The Maryland Hospital Association and the Health Facilities Association of Maryland have recently partnered to prevent bedsores at hospitals and nursing homes in Maryland, by developing and offering an education program to train workers in the Maryland healthcare field.

The training program at the Wound Care Education Institute, under the partnership between the hospital and the nursing home associations, will reportedly educate participants on how to classify, measure, and properly document decubitus ulcers. They will also be trained on how to identity bed sores in patients who have conditions of the skin that makes the sores harder to find and classify, and learn how to care for and treat the wounds that have developed, to prevent bed sores from advancing to more serious stages.

In Maryland or the Washington D.C. area, contact our nursing home attorneys Lebowitz and Mzhen, LLC for a free consultation.

Bed Sores Can Be Costly and Painful, The Baltimore Sun, June 22, 2010
The Risk of Decubitus Ulcers—Resident Abuse and Negligence in Nursing Homes, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, November 9, 2010

NCHS Data Brief: Pressure Ulcers Among Nursing Home Residents: United States 2004

Related Web Resources:

The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, AHRQ

Maryland Department of Aging

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