Pressure Sore Statistics

Pressure Sore Statistics (Decubitus Ulcer Stats)

Pressure Sore Statistics in Hospitals and Pressure Ulcer Statistics in Nursing Homes

Estimates indicate that 1 to 3 million people in the United States develop decubitus ulcers each year. The NPUAP defines prevalence as “a proportion of persons who have a pressure ulcer at a specific point in time.”Prevalence of pressure sores in the United States is widespread in all settings, with estimates of 10% to 18% in acute care, 2.3% to 28% in long-term care, and 0% to 29% in home care. The NPUAP defines incidence as “the number of new cases of pressure ulcers appearing in a pressure ulcer-free population over a period of time.” Incidence of pressure sores ranges from 2.3% to 23.9% in nursing homes, 0.4% to 38% in hospitals, 0% to 17% in home care, and 0% to 6% in rehabilitative care. In addition, new information from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) indicates that pressure ulcer-related hospitalizations increased by an alarming 80% from 1993 to 2006. These numbers may be skewed because of biased self reporting of the nursing home or hospital. For this reason, pressure ulcer statistics may be misleading.

Pressure ulcers can reduce overall quality of life because of pain, treatments, and increased length of institutional stay and may also contribute to premature mortality in some patients. Therefore, any intervention that may help to prevent pressure ulcers or to treat them once they occur is important to reduce the cost of pressure ulcer care and to improve quality of life for affected individuals.

Pressure Ulcer Financial Statistics 

Pressure sore statistics demonstrate the financial cost to society as a whole when a nursing home resident develops pressure ulcer. The burden of having a pressure ulcer is high, in physical, emotional, and financial terms. Data from 1999 indicate that the cost of treating pressure ulcers may range from $5 to $8.5 billion annually; factor in 7% per year for inflation, and this equates to approximately $9.2 to $15.6 billion in 2008. The AHRQ reported that pressure ulcer-related hospitalizations ranged from 13 to 14 days and cost $16,755 to $20,430, compared with the average stay of 5 days and cost of approximately $10,000. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reports that the cost of treating a pressure ulcer in acute care (as a secondary diagnosis) is $43,180 per hospital stay. Contributing cost factors include increased length of stay because of pressure sore complications, such as pain, infection, high-tech support surfaces, and decreased functional ability.

Pressure Sore Hospitalization Statistics

In addition to the financial cost of pressure ulcers, mortality rates are alarming. A recent AHRQ document reports 503,300 pressure ulcer-related hospitalizations in 2006, which included 45,500 hospital admissions that had pressure ulcers as the primary diagnosis. Of these admissions, 1 in 25 ended in death. Another 457,800 pressure ulcer-related hospital admissions documented pressure ulcer as the secondary diagnosis. Of these admissions, the death rate was 1 in 8.

Pressure Sore Litigation Statistics

Pressure sore litigation adds to the burden of healthcare costs. This is especially true in long-term care, where nearly 87% of decubitus ulcer verdicts and pressure sore out-of-court settlements against facilities are awarded to the plaintiffs. One report reviewed 54 nursing home pressure sore lawsuits from September 1999 to April 2002 involving pressure ulcers. The average monetary recovery was more than $13.5 million and, in some cases, included awards of up to $312 million when determined by a verdict or settlement (what is my decubitus ulcer case worth?). In litigation cases related to pressure ulcers, jury awards are highest for multiple causation factors. When awards were related to single causes, however, the highest awards were for those where inadequate nutrition was alleged to be the cause of pressure ulcers. It is important to note that in the past few years some states have passed legislation limiting malpractice awards, which may help to control these cost burdens in the future.

If you have a decubitus ulcer lawsuit, contact our qualified nursing home / hospital neglect lawyers by filling out the claim form to the right.

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