Bed sores linked to increased fatalities, study finds

A bed sore, or pressure ulcer, may sound like a relatively minor health issue. A new study led by UCLA researchers, however, shows that individuals suffering from bed sores are more likely to die in hospitals or require increased hospitalization.

Unfortunately bed sores are relatively common on seniors in nursing homes or hospitals. They occur in areas like the tailbone, hips, heels or other areas with more frail skin. These sores are often preventable with frequent repositioning, appropriate nutrition and regular skin inspections. Pressure ulcers can be a sign of understaffing or poor training on the part of nursing home or hospital care providers.

The study appearing in the current edition of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society tracked over 51,000 Medicare recipients hospitalized in 2006 and 2007, 4.5 percent of which acquired a bed sore.

Researchers found that older individuals who developed bed sores were more likely to die during their time in the hospital. Additionally, patients with pressure ulcers had longer stays in hospitals and were more often readmitted. “…pressure ulcers were shown to be an important risk factor associated with mortality,” explained the study’s lead investigator.

The researchers also identified seniors with the following chronic conditions as high risk for bedsores:

  • Diabetes
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Pulmonary disease
  • Obesity

Individuals on steroids were also at a higher risk for bed sores.

If your loved one has developed a pressure ulcer while in the care of a hospital or nursing home, or experienced another injury due to nursing home abuse or neglect, an attorney can provide advice about potential claims.

Source: UCLA Newsroom, “UCLA-led study finds direct correlation between hospital bedsores, patient mortality,” Laura Perry, October 1, 2012

To learn more about our practice please visit our New York nursing home abuse page.