GuideOne Risk Resources for Health Care
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Your Education Guide to Pressure Ulcers

The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) defines a pressure ulcer as "an area of unrelieved pressure over a defined area, usually over a bony prominence resulting in ischemia, cell death and tissue necrosis." The following statements regarding pressure ulcers are true.

  • Most pressure ulcers are avoidable.

  • Pressure ulcers are resident problems; therefore, they are a problem for the entire interdisciplinary team, not just nursing.

  • In the U.S., pressure ulcer care annually costs $11 billion dollars to treat.

  • In 2012, 13 percent of long-term care (LTC) facilities were cited with a deficiency for failure to treat and/or prevent pressure ulcers.

  • The prevalence of pressure ulcers in LTC facilities is upwards of 32.2 percent.

  • One in 10 nursing home residents developed a pressure ulcer in 2004.

  • More than 17,000 pressure ulcer related lawsuits are filed annually.

  • The average settlement in a pressure ulcer malpractice lawsuit is $250,000, with some awards as high as $312 million.

  • Settlements favoring the plaintiff occur in up to 87 percent of cases.

When a facility faces pressure ulcer litigation, it can be a civil or criminal matter. Because of their nature, lawsuits concerning pressure ulcers typically generate strong emotional reactions on the part of the litigants and juries and are fairly easy for plaintiff counsel to document and pursue. At a minimum, incidents of pressure ulcers increase the care required from staffing resources and strain facility and family relationships.

Every facility should have an organized pressure ulcer prevention and management program so that all employees know their responsibility in identifying and minimizing the risk of pressure ulcer development. That is why Briggs Healthcare and GuideOne Risk Resources for Health Care teamed together to develop a free Pressure Ulcer Educational Guide, filled with facts, information on prevention and responding to pressure ulcer development, tools and references, and additional resources.

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