2.19.2008

Battling Bedsores: The Team Approach

Technology has helped hospitals battle bed sores, but with more and more people living in long term care facilities, battling debilitating and deadly bedsores takes a team approach. According to research reported in the New York Times:

Experts estimate that two million Americans suffer from pressure
ulcers each year, usually through some combination of immobility, poor nutrition, dehydration and incontinence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not keep statistics on fatalities, but one prominent victim was the actor Christopher Reeve, who died of a bedsore infection in 2004 in the middle of a heroic battle against paralysis.
New research is suggesting that the battle against bedsores requires
a team approach, enlisting everyone from nurses and nursing assistants
to laundry workers, nutritionists, maintenance workers and even
in-house beauticians.
In a study of a collaborative program involving 52 nursing homes
around the country, The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
reported last August that team efforts had reduced the number of severe
pressure ulcers acquired in-house by 69 percent.
“Preventing pressure ulcers is a 24/7/365 kind of job,” said Jeff
West, a clinical reviewer at Qualis Health in Seattle, who helped to
set up the collaborative in 2003. “It’s not as if one person can get it
all done. And if it fails just a little bit, just during the weekends,
for instance, you’re not going to get the results. It takes tremendous
consistency.”





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