Decubitus Ulcer Risk Increased by Four Health Conditions

According to a recent study, a patient’s risk factors for developing a decubitus ulcer in a nursing home or hospital can be detected accurately by analyzing each patient for 4 conditions. In addition to looking at these 4 health conditions, the patient’s age and blood work should also be examined. The study was conducted by the Journal of Clinical Nursing in Oslo, Norway. The decubitus ulcer research project looked at 328 patients in hospitals and nursing homes between 2012 and 2014. Each patient was analyzed and assessed for risk of skin breakdown in the form of decubitus ulcers.

What is a Decubitus Ulcer?

“Decubitus Ulcer” is a medical term for a bedsore, also known as a pressure sore. Bedsores and decubitus ulcers are preventable through good care. These wound injuries are a red flag of patient neglect and each bedsore should be investigated to determined how and why it developed. These wounds develop in bony areas of the body, typically on a patient’s buttocks, low back and heels. If a patient is unable to move themselves, the nurses must reposition the patient in bed every 2 hours. Failure of the nurses to reposition the patient can lead to deep and dangerous decubitus ulcer wounds, which can lead to a decubitus ulcer lawsuit.

Staging of Decubitus Ulcers

Decubitus Ulcers form due to unrelieved pressure. A Decubitus Ulcer is staged from 1 to 4.

Conditions that Exist in Patients Prone to Decubitus Ulcers

The Oslo study found the following health conditions greatly increase a patient’s chance of developing decubitus ulcer bedsores:

  1. Immobility in bed (inability to reposition oneself in bed)
  2. Vomiting
  3. Severe pain when at rest or when moving
  4. Urination and bowel control problems

Decubitus Ulcers & Demographics: Who Gets Bedsores?

Not surprisingly, bedsores occur in older patients in frail health. A patient that is over 80 is 4x more likely to develop a decubitus in a hospital versus a 65 year old patient. Interestingly, vomiting was a strong predictor of decubitus ulcer formation. The link here is unclear, although it is believed if a patient is vomiting, nurses may be less likely to turn the patient in bed every 2 hours. Blood work can also help determine patients at a greater risk for skin breakdown. Patient’s with low albumin levels are 4x as likely to get pressure ulcers versus patients with albumin levels at 35g/l or higher. Additionally, patient’s with breathing issues and those that are reported to be nervous were more likely to develop pressure ulcers.

Decubitus Ulcers in Hospitals and Nursing Homes are Not Supposed to Happen

If your family member developed a stage 4 decubitus ulcer in a nursing home, rehab or hospital, investigate the potential patient neglect immediately. Our bedsore lawyers have a combined 50 years of litigating these preventable injury claims. Speak with our elder abuse law firm today to learn more about your rights. Call us now for your free decubitus ulcer case consultation at 561-316-7207.

Stage 3 Decubitus Ulcers can form in these locations

Decubitus ulcers form in the following spots on a patient’s body



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