For a sense of the total costs of the treatment of pressure ulcers, data from the 1990s, although old, can shed a light on current costs. In 1996, $6.4 billion was spent on pressure ulcers, which was 1.2% of total health care costs in the US.
In 2006, excluding neonatal and maternal conditions, almost $11 billion was paid out for hospital stays in which pressure ulcer was either a primary or secondary diagnosis.
For the individual patient, the current costs of providing care for one pressure ulcer can range from $3500 to over $60,000, depending on the stage of the ulcer.
In November 2008, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services instituted a policy to withhold reimbursement due to be made to acute-care hospitals for the costs of treating hospital-acquired conditions, such as pressure ulcers (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2912087/)
According to http://www.woundsource.come, pressure ulcers are the second most common lawsuit (wrongful death is #1) and 50% of patients with a pressure ulcer in the hospital go to a nursing home.
Failed Drug Allergy Precaution Cost
Medical malpractice and settlement involving 30 anaphylaxes from May 2011 through May 2016 from an online legal database (Thomson Reuters Westlaw) was gathered.
In 80% of cases, the trigger was iatrogenic (40% intravenous [IV] contrast, 33% medications, 7% latex). Sixteen (53%) cases resulted in death, 7 (23%) in permanent cardiac and/or neurologic damage, and 7 (23%) in less severe outcomes. Fourteen (47%) of the lawsuits were related to exposure to a known trigger. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6040909/)
Failed Patient Falls Precaution Cost
Every year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of patients fall in hospitals, with 30-50 percent resulting in injury.
Injured patients require additional treatment and sometimes prolonged hospital stays. In one study, a fall with injury added 6.3 days to the hospital stay.
The average cost for a fall with injury is about $14,000.
Falls with serious injury are consistently among the Top 10 sentinel events reported to The Joint Commission’s Sentinel Event database.
Analysis of injury due to falls, drug anaphylaxes and skin ulcers in the Sentinel Event database reveals the most common contributing factors pertain to:
- Inadequate assessment
- Communication failures
- Lack of adherence to protocols and safety practices
- Inadequate staff orientation, supervision, staffing levels or skill mix
- Deficiencies in the physical environment
- Lack of leadership
- Have you been sued or waiting to be sued because of preventable pressure ulcers, falls and or anaphylaxis?
- How much has this hospital lost yearly through the purchasing of multiple patient identification wristbands?
- Does any of these wristbands have an alert for skin care?
- How much has this hospital lost and continue to lose daily with regards to:
- Pressure ulcers caused by regular multiple wristbands with rigid ends that’s either too tight or overlapping with each other.
- Nursing hours spent with application of topical medications or dressing to skin breakdowns that should have been prevented.
- Topical medications and dressing materials.
- Pharmacy hours.
- Materials management time.
Addressing the Sentinel Event Most Common Factors
- The all-in-one nature of Bright-ID Band helps keep all risk factors at one place for easy visual identification and assessment. This eliminates multiple wristbands with the tendency of missing some risk identifiers.
- Because it has both color and written warning identification, the issue of communication failure is eliminated. Writings are legible, colors codes cannot be missed.
- There is a well-defined process on when to apply the all-in-one wristband as a protocol. There is adequate literature on when and how to properly apply this device and continual interaction will help remedy any issue in a timely manner.
- There is a protocol on continual staff education that will maximize the potential of Bright-ID Band regardless of staffing levels or mixed skills set.