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50 Years of Fighting Pressure Ulcers Called Into Question

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, November 26, 2013

A study on pressure ulcers shows that patients may not need to be turned every two hours as a preventive measure, which has been common practice for decades.

For decades it's been standard practice to turn nursing home patients every two hours to prevent pressure ulcers. But new research could turn that standard on its head.

Pressure ulcers, long acknowledged as a common, normal complication among hospital patients with limited mobility, are coming under renewed scrutiny. Anticipating poor quality ratings and financial penalties, and armed with better data, providers are starting to reduce instances of this hospital-acquired condition.

A study, led by Nancy Bergstrom, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, associate dean at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Nursing, has found that nursing homes that use high-density foam mattresses may not need to turn residents multiple times per day.

At a time when safe-patient handling is at the forefront of policy discussions and nurses are "positively deviating" from the norm to provide better care, these study results could be a game-changer in the world of nursing.


See Also: Pressure is On to Reduce Pressure Ulcers


"For 50 years we've been turning people every two hours," Bergstrom tells me. "This is really changing practice."

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