RECENT research suggests 95 per cent of pressure ulcers (sometimes referred to as pressure sores or bed sores) suffered by patients in hospitals and care homes across the country are avoidable – yet poor treatment is is still subjecting thousands to the pain and suffering they bring.
For the patient, pressure ulcers can become extremely painful and serious.
Yes, many may only be small sores, but others can be open wounds, potentially leading to serious complications which, if left untreated, can even lead to the need for plastic surgery or amputation.
According to NHS England, the cost of treating pressure ulcers and related conditions is now up to £4 billion a year, with the most severe cases ranging from £11,000 to £40,000 per person.
Recent research from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has also found that some UK hospital trusts now have more than 50 per cent of pressure ulcers which deteriorate to critical levels.
APIL is currently campaigning for improved treatment across the UK, with Vice-President Jonathan Wheeler stressing that early identification and treatment should ensure pressure ulcers do not reach the critical point where not only do they cause serious pain and distress, but also take considerable time and resource to heal.
At Neil Hudgell Solicitors, as medical negligence specialists, we’ve a wealth of experience in dealing with compensation claims for pressure sores involving patients in hospitals and residential care homes.
And we have seen first-hand how appropriate nursing care could have avoided the majority of cases we take on.
Simple steps should always be taken to prevent pressure ulcers, from patients being assessed on admission with regards to their risk to nurses ensuring they provide an appropriate bed, and making sure patients move and, if necessary, are turned.
Every hospital bed taken up by a patient who has developed a pressure sore is quite simply blocking others who could be treated instead, stopping hospitals from generating income and increasing waiting lists.
It is clear the financial cost of not preventing pressure sores is far higher to the NHS than taking action to prevent or reduce them would be.
We welcome this APIL campaign to tackle a problem which can easily be resolved, simply through meeting the basic standards of care we all expect and deserve.