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Pressure Sores and Ulcers, an indicator of adequate nursing staff.

One of the best indicators of adequate nursing care is the incidence of pressure sores and ulcers on the skin which develop on patients.   Prevention of these ulcers require good hygiene (bathing) and frequent repositioning of the patient.  This is not a high level of nursing care.  Nursing aids usually perform these tasks. 

Pressure sores are categorized into four stages depending upon severity.  Stage I is a sore with change in skin coloration, Stage II is a partial thickness of skin loss, a blister or abrasion, Stage III is full skin loss but not though underlining fascia, Stage IV has extensive damage to underlying muscles, bone, tendons and supporting tissue.   Learn More About Staging.

The key to prevention is the application of pressure relieving devices, pads and beds.  Frequent repositioning of the patient every 2 hours is usually required.    The Brandon Scale is often used to gage a patient's risk to developing a bed sore or ulcer.   A scare of 16 or lower in acute care and 18 or more in long term care is indicative of a high risk for developing pressure sores and ulcers.  Learn More About Prevention.

Tracking the incidence of these ulcers does not require hospital cooperation.   This can be performed using nursing homes.   Below can be downloaded the survey directions and information on Pressure Sore Staging.   The survey report form is also included.

It is important not to have the confidentially of patients violated.   No identifying patient information should be put on the survey form.