Hospital Acquired Pressure Ulcers
A pressure ulcer, also called a bedsore, is an injury to the skin or underlying tissue caused by pressure, friction, and moisture. These ulcers often occur when patients have limited mobility and can’t change positions in bed on their own.
When pressure ulcers occur, they must be treated quickly or they can damage the skin and muscles, slow recovery, and cause pain, infection and other problems.
Why are hospital patients at risk for pressure ulcers?
Patients are at risk for pressure ulcers when they can’t move easily and have decreased circulation or fragile skin. Changes in cognitive or bowel and bladder function, along with insufficient intake of nutrients and liquids, can also contribute to the development of pressure ulcers.
During hospitalization, patients also may have a variety of tubes, drains and other health care equipment that can cause pressure ulcers.
Many patients who are hospitalized for an extended period develop bed sores, which is something that they weren’t expecting when they were admitted. Bed sores can be avoided, but some hospitals no longer concentrate on providing hands-on care for their patients.
Once a patient is admitted to the hospital, the facility has a responsibility to provide patients with the best care possible. Staff members should keep in mind that their patients frequently are suffering from medical conditions that leave them susceptible to developing bed sores. Patients rely on their caregivers to make sure no other situations occur that leave them in worse shape than they were upon admission. Treating only the acute problem that landed patients in the hospital isn’t adequate. Attention must be paid to any potential issues that might arise during their stay.
Sources: UCSFHealth.org, RosenbaumFirm.com