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Ostomy Wound Manage. 2002 Apr;48(4):52-62.

A comprehensive program to prevent pressure ulcers in long-term care: exploring costs and outcomes.

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Adult Advanced Nursing Program, Specialty Care and Management Division, Yale University School of Nursing, New Haven, Conn., USA.


With scrutiny from survey agencies (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and state agencies) and potential litigation increasing, long-term care facilities must implement aggressive pressure ulcer prevention programs. However, cost-effective pressure ulcer prevention continues to be a challenge for most long-term care facilities, in part because limited research is available to guide their efforts. Two long-term care facilities (Facility A with 150 beds and Facility B with 110 beds) participated in a quasi-experimental study using retrospective and prospective study data to evaluate the effect of implementing a protocol of care to address the incidence of pressure ulcers. Retrospective study results showed a combined, cumulative, 5-month pressure ulcer incidence of 43% in Facilities A and B. Implementation of the comprehensive prevention program resulted in an 87% decrease in pressure ulcer incidence in Facility A (from 13.2% to 1.7% per month, P = 0.02) and a 76% decrease in Facility B (from 15% to 3.5% per month, P = 0.02). The average monthly cost of prevention for a high-risk resident was $519.73 (plus a one time cost of $277 for mattress and chair overlays). More than half ($277.15) of the monthly costs relates to labor; the most expensive item cost is for support surfaces. This study demonstrated that this comprehensive program resulted in a significant decrease in the incidence of pressure ulcers in two long-term care facilities. Because labor and support surface costs remain high, long-term care facilities are encouraged to use prevention intervention strategies based on risk stratification.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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