What is a bedsore?

Bedsores are also known as pressure ulcers

Why are bedsores a problem?

Bedsores are a human health problem that can develop very rapidly without frequent movement. They are typically avoidable but are very difficult to prevent. Prevention requires frequent movement of the body and reliable early detection. Frequent repositioning of the person may not be easy, possible, or cost effective. The early detection test is manual and unreliable. It relies on the care giver to “feel” and “see” changes in the health of the skin. Therefore early stage bedsores are typically missed until the skin is gone and an open wound, a more advanced bedsore, has developed. Once an open wound bedsore develops it is very difficult to heal and treat. They can lead to chronic infection, death, or amputation.

Who does it affect?

  • Bedsores can affect anyone with limited mobility independent of their ethnicity, age, race, wealth status, or geographical location.

  • Bedsores affect cancer patients as they struggle to fight for their lives.

  • The elderly are the largest population at risk for bedsores. This population will double to 80 million by 2030 in the US.

  • A bedsore can affect healthy individuals hospitalized following a sudden severe injury or accident.

  • Bedsores affect disabled people with limited mobility such as individuals living with spinal cord injury, ALS, and multiple sclerosis.

  • Diabetics develop diabetic foot ulcers, which are wounds that are similar to bedsores in their appearance and impact on health.

  • Individuals with Alzheimer's or dementia are commonly afflicted with bedsores.

What is the human impact?

  • Significant pain and suffering
  • Limb amputation
  • Decreased quality of life and independence
  • Can be a sign of negligent care
  • Increases hospital stay by 1-3 weeks
  • Can lead to deadly infection (sepsis) of the whole body
  • Affects 2.5 million yearly in the US
  • Kills 60,000 each year in the US

What is the financial impact of bedsores?

  • $43,000 – the average cost one bedsore adds to the cost of patient care
  • $11 billion – the cost of bedsores to the US healthcare system in 2006
  • $70,000 – cost to treat a most severe open wound advanced stage bedsore
  • $250,000 – the average payout for a bedsore law suit
  • $312 million – one of the largest bedsore law suit payouts

Why focus on early bedsore detection?

  • Reliable early bedsore detection is critical to bedsore prevention
  • If caught early a bedsore can easily be treated at a low cost
  • Treatment of an early stage bedsore can prevent the formation of an expensive advanced open wound bedsore
  • The standard early bedsore test, the manual blanch test, is subjective and unreliable
  • Reliable detection will improve the accuracy of documentation
  • Dependable early bedsore detection will improve patient outcomes