NHS Hospitals in Wales Respond to Alarming Rise in Pressure Sores
- September 13, 2018
- Posted by: curtislegalwp
- Category: News
There has been a rise in serious pressure sores throughout Welsh Health Boards by an alarming 500 per cent over the last four years and action has been called before the situation gets even worse.
Pressure sores in hospitals are almost always caused by prolonged lying on a hospital bed without the ability to move position. A good prevention programme ensures that the prevalence of pressure sores and their development is kept under control by consistent monitoring of the patients most likely to suffer and prompt remedial treatment if pressure sores are discovered developing. Something has obviously gone wrong in Wales for grade three and four pressure sores to increase from 184 in 2014 to 1,119 last year.
The increase has been explained, at least partly, by a change in the way bed sores are tracked in 2014. Community acquired bed sores were added to the number of hospital acquired bed sores from that year. The highest incidence of bed sores recorded was by the Health Boards of Betsi Cadwaladr and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University.
Treating pressure sores is estimated to consume 10% of the Welsh NHS budget, a point that was raised in the Welsh Assembly, the Sennedd recently. Prevention, like so many health issues is better for the patient than cure and a lot cheaper for the NHS, too.
The cost per day of having to treat a developed pressure sore has been estimated by the national Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as between £47 and £374. The large variation is due to the differences in severity in pressure sore cases. The total cost of treating pressure sores per patient at the Royal Gwent hospital has been estimated at a huge figure of over £5,000.
Health authorities in Wales have acknowledged the seriousness of the situation, but point out that not every patient who was included in the community figures would have been cared for by a health professional. That could suggest that the alarming increase was swollen by the number of people out in the community whose pressure sores were simply not discovered in time before they became serious.
It has also been pointed out by health officials that the fact that the number of reported bed sores might not be such a bad thing after all, as it could be seen as a sign that the reporting system has improved and a better picture of just what is going on is more transparently revealed.
Whatever the truth behind the reported increase, it does seem that the incidence of pressure sores and the effect it has on patients, their families and the NHS budget is being taken very seriously. According to the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, an 18 month programme called “Relieving the Pressure” was launched last September (2017) in 12 separate wards in the Royal Gwent Hospital and is being expanded to Nevill Hall Hospital. Board officials say that the programme aimed at tackling pressure sores is really making a difference.
Untreated pressure sores can cause very serious health consequences and can lead to untimely death. If a family member has recently been diagnosed with pressure sores and you feel that it is not been taken seriously enough despite you bringing it to the attention of staff caring for your relative, you should talk to a solicitor with experience in pressure sore claims to discuss what legal action you can take. Sometimes it takes legal action to get health authorities to take your concerns seriously.