The clinical negligence team at Gregory Abrams Davidson have recently noticed a growing trend in cases concerning the poor treatment of pressure sores/ulcers which affect many members of the population, both young and old. These wounds, more commonly referred to as bed sores, can be incredibly distressing and lead to pain, immobility and even death.
This issue was highlighted in a September 2010 report compiled by the Patients Association (an independent charity that highlights the concerns and needs of patients), entitled “Meaningful and Comparable? Tissue Viability Nursing Services and Pressure Ulcers”
It is estimated that the NHS spend £1.4 -£2.1 billion annually treating this clinical condition which represents 4% of the total NHS expenditure. The report states that approximately 412,000 individuals will develop a new pressure ulcer annually in the UK.
The cases that the team at Gregory Abrams Davidson are currently investigating relate to a failure to diagnose and/or mange the wound. Healthcare providers must be aware of certain risk factors which increase the risk of developing bed sores. The recognised risk factors are as follows: 1) confinement to bed, chair or wheelchair; 2) Inability to change positions without help; 3) Loss of bladder or bowel control; 4) Poor nutrition and/or dehydration; and 5) Decreased mental awareness. Each patient must be risk assessed and the necessary management plan must be enforced,
With proper diagnosis, early intervention and correct management, many problems can be avoided. It is hoped that the publication of the Patients Association’s recent report will put pressure on both the Department of Health and the NHS to address the existing problem.
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