Preventing Pressure Injuries Across the Continuum of Care
Exemplary patient care is the cornerstone of the healthcare industry. And leaving vulnerable patients without adequate pressure injury prevention conflicts directly with this ideal.
Continuum of care–what is it, exactly? In the healthcare setting, continuum of care is simply a delivery of care over a period of time. It follows the patient from unit to unit. It makes sense, particularly when a patient is admitted to the hospital with a critical condition. But what if a patient is just at risk for something, such as a pressure injury? How far should the care go if it is mostly preventative? The answer is, from entry to exit!
A patient’s risk for pressure injury formation doesn’t subside just because they’ve left the unit. It travels with them. Gaps in care can hinder healing and potentially exacerbate the problem. Prevention only works if it’s consistent. An effective care plan must continue through multiple acute care environments, including the ED, peri-operative units, and radiology through discharge. But how much is too much to spend on a problem that may or may not happen?
The debate over the cost of prevention versus treatment has been waging for ages. Which side is correct? For the sake of argument, take the patient out of the equation. The financial impact on the hospital for treating one pressure injury is steep. According to AHRQ, the price tag ranges from $20,000 to over $150,000 for ONE pressure injury. That’s a lot. And since CMS won’t pay for pressure injury readmissions, hospitals could incur another hit to the bottom line. Of course, you can’t take the patient out of the equation!
Exemplary patient care is the cornerstone of the healthcare industry. And leaving vulnerable patients without adequate pressure injury prevention conflicts directly with this ideal. Do no harm, right? Safe and simple measures to prevent pressure injury formation from the moment of entry will help ensure that patients don’t endure undue skin damage. It’s that easy. And regarding the treatment over prevention discussion, as luck would have it, preventing pressure injuries doesn’t have to break the bank.
Support surfaces specially designed for pressure injury management and comfort are ideal for early intervention. But cost-effective support surfaces offering pressure injury protection AND portability are a wise addition to any skin protection protocol. Specialty beds have certainly come a long way in patient care; they’re sleek and high-tech. But, with certain exceptions, they don’t always follow the patient throughout the continuum of care. Consistency is key! Choose a support surface versatile enough to remain steadfast to the patient’s care plan from entry to discharge. CLICK HERE to find the ideal surface solution to best meet the patient’s needs.