Bedsores are usually associated with neglect of the elderly in hospitals and nursing homes. They are not usually associated with children. However, a new study is now saying that hospitalized children are more affected by bedsores than previously believed.
Bedsores are injuries to the skin and the underlying tissues. They result from extended periods of pressure on the skin. Bedsores are more likely to develop on the skin over bony areas of the body, including the heel, ankles, hip, or buttocks. When a person has a medical condition that limits their ability to change positions, he or she is at greater risk of suffering from bedsores.
Pressure sores result from pressure against the skin inhibiting an adequate supply of blood to the skin and underlying tissues. Additionally, factors related to limited mobility, such as sustained pressure, friction, and shear, may make the skin more vulnerable to damage and potentially contributing to the development of pressure sores.
This new research out of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has found that of all the children admitted to the hospital, at least 10 percent developed bedsores. This is more than twice the rate at which bedsores was originally thought to occur in children.
However, when compared with the causes of bedsores with in adults (70 percent of bedsores result from pressure on bony parts of the body), most of these skin tissue injuries in children were the result of medical devices. Such medical devices include facemasks, tracheotomy tubes, pulse oximeters, and orthopedic cases.
When treating bedsores, doctors will usually start by relieving pressure that initially caused the bedsore. The patient will need to be repositioned regularly as well as placed in correct positions. Support surfaces, such as special cushions, pads, mattresses, and beds will also be used to aid the person to lie in an appropriate position, relieving the pressure on any existing sores while also protecting vulnerable skin from being damaged. Doctors will also remove the damaged tissue to allow the wound to heal properly. The wound will then be cleaned and dressed properly.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital responded to the research findings by developing a quality improvement program to reduce the number of bedsores by 50 percent. This initial intervention has proven successful, however researchers feel that new skin evaluation methods need to be established, better identify early tissue changes, and test other interventions to reduce the harm caused by medical devices.
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