News | September 05, 2007

Hospitals Could Improve Outcomes, Save Millions With Pressure Ulcer Prevention Programs

September 6, 2007 - Findings of the 10th Annual International Pressure Ulcer Prevalence Survey (IPUPS) show the potential for cutting half the pressure ulcers in acute care facilities and dramatically reduce hospital-acquired pressure ulcers through specially designed prevention programs.
The survey results were released by Hill-Rom, the healthcare unit of Hillenbrand Industries, a provider of medical technology for hospitals and other care sites around the world. The study is of particular interest following the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recent announcement that treatment of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers would no longer be reimbursed.
The in-depth survey documented that nearly half of all adult patients in acute care facilities were assessed to be at high risk for the development of pressure ulcers. Although hospitals are beginning to incorporate comprehensive pressure ulcer prevention programs, more than 75 percent of the high risk patients did not receive such a program. Implementing an approach like the new Safe Skin Program offered by Hill-Rom was shown in the IPUPS data to significantly decrease the incidence rate of pressure ulcers from 7.8 percent to 3.8 percent in the high risk group.
Based on the survey prevalence, it can be estimated that more than 900,000 Medicare patients annually will develop pressure ulcers. According to a 2003 study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the excess cost of treating a hospital-acquired pressure ulcer is $10,845, potentially leading to more than $10 billion of total Medicare reimbursements annually. The recent CMS announcement regarding pressure ulcer treatment reimbursement requires hospital leaders to take a closer look at pressure ulcer prevention programs to save hospitals millions of dollars nationwide.
The 2007 Hill-Rom IPUPS data results were delivered through a survey of 653 healthcare facilities and included more than 82,000 patients, representing an estimated 10 percent of all U.S. acute care hospitals. The IPUPS study results are widely regarded by hospital leaders as being nationally representative of trends in healthcare facilities. The data used to compile the IPUPS report is also commonly submitted by organizations to databases, such as the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators
The study was conducted 10 times between 1991 and 2003, and since has been conducted annually. Survey information is submitted by hospital teams into a data base administered by Hill-Rom representatives. Individual facility data is then shared with each participating hospital, and also is aggregated to provide an industry-wide assessment.
The Hill-Rom Safe Skin Program combines clinical expertise with proven technologies to help caregivers reduce pressure ulcers. Hill-Rom�s wound prevention experts offer clinical consulting and education for hospital teams. The company has developed technologies designed to help prevent pressure ulcers, such as the new Envision low air loss surface bed and TotalCare SpO2RT Bed System with Next Generation Low Air Loss (LAL). These products are designed to manage the skin's microclimate by enhancing air flow next to the body, so that moisture and heat are pulled away from the patient.

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