A state department of health recently awarded $800,000 of research money to 16 nursing homes to study pressure ulcer prevention. Pressure ulcers (pressure sores, bed sores, decubitus ulcers) are injuries to skin and underlying tissue that result when patients aren't turned and repositioned frequently enough and aren't kept clean. The grant will help participating facilities implement an evidence-based best practices program called On-Time Quality Improvement for Long-Term Care, which was developed by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
The On-Time program collects, analyzes and promptly reports back to staff information about patients who are most at risk for developing pressure ulcers and tracks the results of the nursing homes' prevention efforts. Historically, the program has cut the average rate at which pressure ulcers are encountered in participating nursing homes by one-third. Read more about the pressure ulcer research.
More money for pressure ulcer research is critical, not to determine what causes pressure ulcers -- we know that -- but to study how we can make information about patients' pressure ulcer needs more accessible to caregivers in real time. Patients' medical needs change and can do so quickly. Pressure ulcers can develop and deteriorate rapidly, often within a matter of hours. They don't and won't wait patiently for a slow-acting facility to change the care it provides.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities currently have very cumbersome processes in place for recognizing when and how these needs change and responding with appropriate pressure ulcer care. Putting information about changing conditions and needs immediately in the hands of those who are responsible for providing care really works! It has reduced pressure ulcers by 33% in facilities that have participated in AHRQ's On-Time program. More information in less time equals fewer pressure ulcers. As more research fine-tunes the program, nursing homes across the country will be on notice -- implement these same information programs in your facilities or be able to explain to families and juries why you didn't.
Posted on Sat, January 26, 2008
by Robert Carter