TORONTO, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Hospital emergency rooms spending 30 cents per patient to buy pressure-reduction mattresses would save $32 per patient, Toronto researchers say.
Lead author Ba' Pham, who is completing his training at University of Toronto's department of health policy, says elderly patients are at high risk for pressure ulcers in part because they spend hours lying on hard surfaces.
"Most pressure ulcers are preventable," the researcher says in a statement. "Upgrading mattress quality would save money and improve quality of life for elderly patients in emergency departments."
Researchers performed a cost-effectiveness analysis based on data drawn primarily from the Canadian province of Ontario. They compared the projected incidence of pressure ulcers based on current practices in hospital emergency departments with projected incidence after introduction of better mattresses.
The study, published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, found early prevention was likely to be cost-effective 81 percent of the time.
About 240,000 elderly patients are admitted to hospital emergency departments each year in Ontario.
The researchers calculate that providing better mattresses would prevent about 1,005 pressure ulcers and save $7.2 million in healthcare costs.