A pressure ulcer is an area of skin that breaks down when you stay in one position for too long without shifting your weight. This often happens if you use a wheelchair or you are bedridden, even for a short period of time (for example, after surgery or an injury). The constant pressure against the skin reduces the blood supply to that area, and the affected tissue dies.
A pressure ulcer starts as reddened skin but gets progressively worse, forming a blister, then an open sore, and finally a crater. The most common places for pressure ulcers are over bony prominences (bones close to the skin) like the elbow, heels, hips, ankles, shoulders, back, and the back of the head.
McKnight’s had a recent note about the most recent study analyzing the data of pressure ulcers in nursing homes. More than one in 10 nursing home residents had a pressure ulcer in 2004, according to newly released statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report proves widespread neglect related to wound care. Roughly 159,000 nursing home residents—11% of the total—had some form of pressure ulcer. Stage two pressure ulcers were the most prevalent, the report found. However, many nursing home employees have no training in wound care and do not know how to properly stage a pressure ulcer.
Younger residents who experienced shorter lengths of stay also were more likely to have pressure ulcers. This disproves the defense argument that "old" people get pressures ulcers and that they are "unavoidable".
A total of 35% of those with pressure ulcers stage two or higher (more severe) received "special" wound care treatment, according to the CDC. There were no significant differences in pressure ulcer rates between white and non-white residents, according to the report.
The report, "Pressure Ulcers Among Nursing Home Residents: United States, 2004," was released Wednesday. Authors gathered data for the report from the 2004 National Nursing Home Survey, which sampled responses from more than 14,000 nursing home residents around the country. The CDC report can be found online at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/upcoming.htm.