Most modern medical programs aim to find a new effective treatment for the most dangerous diseases threatening the lives of thousands of people. These projects often overlook pressure ulcers or bedsores because they do not seem so scary. However, every year they affect millions of people around the world. Therefore, this Quality Improvement Project will focus on such a significant medical issue as pressure ulcers, which may have a destructive force on the body.
Pressure Ulcers: Definition, Factors of Onset, Staging, and Best Practices from Literature
Bedsores are mainly widespread among older adults and hospital patients, who have physical-motor limitations and almost do not move, being confined to bed or wheelchair. The skin of seriously ill patients changes and becomes dry and sensitive, contributing to the development of bedsores. Moreover, this disease can be developed if patients have spinal cord injuries, neurological disorders, and problems affecting blood circulation. A bedsore is a “localized injury to the skin and/or underlying tissue usually over a bony prominence, as a result of pressure, or pressure in combination with shear” (Borojeny et al., 2020, p. 1). It is easier to prevent them than to treat them. According to the newest classification of the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, pressure ulcer has four stages and two additional types of injures called unstageable and deep tissue pressure injury (Mervis & Phillips, 2019). If the development of a bedsore is not stopped, it can cause such complications as osteomyelitis, sepsis, topical infection, or even death (Borojeny et al., 2020). Therefore, bedsores are one of the significant burdens of bed patients, who are at constant risk.
Lately, several studies have focused on pressure ulcers and their effects on humans. Due to these surveys (study by Mervis and Phillips (2019), by Borojeny et al. (2020), by Becker (2017)), it became possible to identify the complications of this disease. Moreover, they contributed to determining the level of its prevalence and some methods of treatment and prevention. Anti-bedsores mattresses, protection of vulnerable spots, adherence to hygiene rules, and regular change of position of a person’s body are the main methods of fighting pressure ulcers; however, it is not enough. Although there is already a good base of literature related to this issue, it is necessary to use it to conduct further research and develop medical programs.
Reasons for the Need to Change the Status Quo of Bedsores
Bedsores have been a severe problem for many years, affecting a lot of people. There are several reasons why it is necessary to fight this disease. Firstly, although medical workers and researchers exert every effort, the number of patients with bedsores has only increased. According to surveys conducted in 1999, the prevalence of pressure ulcers was 14.8% overall and 21.5% among patients intensive care units (ICU) (Mervis & Phillips, 2019). Research that was carried out several years later shows the prevalence became 15% overall and about 25% in ICU (Mervis & Phillips, 2019). Now, only in the USA, about 2.5 million people are suffering from pressure ulcers (Borojeny et al., 2020). Secondly, to date, bedsores are “the third most costly disease after cancers and cardiovascular diseases” (Borojeny et al., 2020, p. 1). The mortality rates from complications caused by pressure ulcers are 2 to 6 times as much as from other illnesses, with 60,000 deaths annually (Borojeny et al., 2020). Finally, the symptoms of bedsores often include itching, skin breakdown, and terrible pain. Thus, the need for medical programs to fight pressure ulcers is clear.
Pressure ulcers are a significant clinical issue, which will be a focus for this Quality Improvement Project. Every year, this disease primarily affects bed patients around the world; it has several stages and can cause terrible complications and even death. Although it is impossible to proclaim the total extermination of this clinical issue, it is necessary to develop various programs to decrease the prevalence and force of bedsores.
Borojeny, L. A., Albatineh, A. N., Dehkordi, A. H., & Gheshlagh, R. G. (2020). The incidence of pressure ulcers and its associations in different wards of the hospital: A systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 11(171).
Mervis, J. S., & Phillips, T. J. (2019). Pressure ulcers: Pathophysiology, epidemiology, risk factors, and presentation. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 81(4), 881-890. Web.