Institutional Change Necessary to Prevent Pressure Ulcers

New research suggests that the fight against pressure ulcers, commonly known as bed sores, will be most effective where facilities take a team approach to prevention. Estimates suggest that two million Americans suffer from pressure ulcers every year, many of which occur in nursing homes and similar facilities.

Preventing pressure ulcers is a round-the-clock job that requires a high level of monitoring by caretakers. Unfortunately, many nursing homes do not have the proper procedures in place to reduce the risk of pressure ulcers. A physician studying the impacts of collaborative efforts to reduce pressure ulcers suggests that facilities could achieve better results if nursing homes improved their documentation so that all relevant information about a resident would be readily available to any caretaker. Such documentation would also provide key reminders to nurses and staff members about the best practices for a particular resident. However, many facilities have no standardized procedures, and thus, it seems that these facilities are not providing the best care available for their residents. Institutional change and work-flow redesign could provide a solution to the widespread problem of inadequate nursing home care, especially with regards to pressure ulcers.

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