Friday, April 3, 2009

3 in 20 Short Stay Nursing Home Patients have Pressure Sores

Pressure Sores, also known as bed sores or decubitis ulcers, occurs when there is friction between the body and the surface the body contacts and cuts off circulation of that area, generally at a pressure point. Some patients are at higher risk than others- age, those with limited mobility, fragile or thin skin, diabetes, or obesity to name a few.

3 in 20 Short Stay Nursing Home Patients have Pressure Sores The national average as reported on the most recent release of Nursing Home Compare data shows that the percent of Short-Stay residents who have pressure sores is 15%. And 22% of all nursing homes who reported this measure had a rate of 20% or higher.

The measure is calculated based on information from the patient assessment done on day 5 and 14. The 15% is composed of patients who are in one of two situations: They acquired a pressure sore between assessments (None on Day 5 but at least a Stage 1 pressure sore on Day 14) or their pressure sore got worse or stayed the same between Day 5 and Day 14.

Picture Source: Medline

How can you assist the nursing home team in caring for your loved one?

1. Assist, whenever possible, in moving the patient from one position to the other. Be careful not to drag the skin across the sheet as this creates friction and shearing.
2. Socks and long sleeves: Elbows and heels should be covered to avoid rubbing on the bed.
3. Bed height should be 30 degrees or lower to avoid putting weight on tail or back bone. (Some beds even have a 30 degree alarm)
4. Help motivate the patient to participate in regular mobility exercises as prescribed.
5. If your loved one has a pressure sore, ask for the stage number each time you visit or call - monitoring will help keep you informed of the progress
6. Learn what steps are being taken to care for the wound sore.
7. Know the pressure sore rate for your nursing home and compare it to national average. Is it better or worse? Understand why - ask the staff.
8. Do you research? Some treatment plans are more successful than others.
9. Consult a wound care specialist
10. To learn more about pressure sore stages and contributing factors, review Health Orchid

Be sure to check out this and other nursing home quality measures on Results of individual quality measures can be found on the quality tab of each facility's page on

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