The risk of poor wound care education
If you Google “bed sores in nursing homes,” you get two types of results. The first are various guides to recognizing abuse in nursing homes. The second are just a few of the many law firms specializing in taking on lawsuits against nursing homes for malpractice.
The reality is that many of the staff at long-term care facilities are not properly trained to prevent or treat wounds. According to Dr. Anna Flattau, Director of Montefiore Medical Center in NYC,
“Medical schools and residency programs typically have no or minimal instruction in chronic-wound healing, and a lot of medical students don't know how to turn a patient over in a hospital bed or examine them for wound risks.*”
A lack of properly trained staff can have devastating consequences. Consider the following:
Bedsore case litigation is the second most common type of neglect, abuse, or malpractice cases, after wrongful death.
While the national average award for bedsore case litigation is just over $400,000, the award amount can rise into the millions.
All it takes is one mistake.
The rising chronic wound pandemic
And the numbers are increasingly against you. The rise of obesity, diabetes, and an aging population is contributing to an explosion in the development of chronic wounds.
Over 6.5 million Americans are affected by chronic wounds alone. This burden is costing the U.S. some $25 billion annually. Over 60,000 people die annually, just from pressure wound complications.
But let's bring this home to your facility. Based on 2014 numbers, there are an average of 88 patients per long-term care facility. 29% of these residents will experience a pressure ulcer at some point in their stay.
At that rate, 25 of your patients will experience a pressure ulcer at some point during their stay. And of course those numbers will be higher if we include patients who have or develop diabetic foot ulcers, venous ulcers, or any one of the many other types of wounds.
Should an ulcer occur in one of your patients, even if it's not the fault of your facility, the family will be looking for a target. And with an 87% chance of success and half a dozen eager nursing home abuse attorneys just around the corner, it's not hard to imagine the potential consequences.
Mitigate legal and financial risk through proper training
The only solution to this growing problem is to have qualified staff available who understand how to prevent and properly treat wounds of all types.
The benefits of training your staff as wound specialists include:
Improved financial outcomes
Reduction in preventable wounds
Faster healing rates
Efficient use of resources
Your staff will learn how to treat wounds holistically. A holistic approach to wound care allows a higher rate of prevention and faster healing for current wounds. This will reduce costs to your facility as well as to your (patient).
In addition, your staff will learn how to properly document wound cases. This will protect your facility in case of litigation.
Surgical Wound Care Institute offers this training through a three-day intensive course. The material covers a thorough discussion of wound care. Some of the topics covered include:
Assessment and documentation
Physiology of wound repair
Management of infection
Factors affecting wound healing
Wound care dressing selection
Diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of wound types
Legal, ethical, and reimbursement issues related to wound management
Dr. Paul Ferraro, who will be teaching the course, is a veteran surgeon with over 15 years of wound care experience under his belt. This experience led him to found Surgical Wound Care Services, Northeast Ohio's leader in holistic wound care.
Find out more about Dr. Ferraro and his mission to transform wound care management in long-term care facilities.
Ready to get started? Call 330-808-1664 today to find out when the next course is taking place and to sign up your staff.
*Quoted in Laura Landro, “Treating Wounds - the Holistic Way,” The Wall Street Journal. Accessed 01/13/18. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304023504577321404093450624