Few conditions faced by long-term care professionals are more common, costly or do more damage to a patient’s quality-of-life, than pressure ulcers. In addition to their devastating effects, long-term care facilities run the risk of potential litigation by patients and their families if the ulcer is perceived as avoidable. 
“Pressure ulcers are very painful, and in fact, some patients can even die from them because they can become infected and the patient may have to undergo amputation,” said Joyce Black, PhD, RN, CWCN, FAAN, co-chair of the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel’s Education Committee.
“There are all kinds of fancy assessments nurses will use to determine relative risk, but really it all boils down to: Can the resident move?” Black says. “It’s not hard to prevent pressure ulcers if you come up with a plan to make it work.”
Pressure ulcer activity has to be diligently monitored and documented by staff. Once a resident has developed a pressure ulcer it’s important for the patient to be moved to one of the CMS-categorized Group 2 support surfaces. Choosing the right support surfaces can be an important tool in preventing and treating pressure ulcers.
“The two factors you have to account for in pressure ulcer prevention are the intensity, or the magnitude, of the pressure and the duration of the pressure,” Black says. “The beds can deal with the magnitude component, but no support surface will change the duration. The only way you can change duration is to move the patient.”
A facility has an obligation to perform all the precautionary steps to preventing the occurrence of pressure ulcers and to document all steps in order to prevent any potential legal issues. For more information on wound documentation and management, visit woundrounds.com.
 Novotney, Amy. “In search of support.”McKnight’s Long Term Care News. Web.
01 August 2012