Preventing bed sores cost effective

Sept. 29, 2011 at 10:25 PM
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TORONTO, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Using pressure reduction foam mattresses resulted in cost-savings for 82 percent of long-term healthcare residents in Canada, researchers say.

Lead author Ba' Pham, a senior research associate with the Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment Collaborative, said the average savings came to $110 per resident.

In addition, foam cleansers for incontinence care would be cost-effective 94 percent of the time compared to soap and water -- saving an average of $172 per resident, Pham said.

The clinical benefits of foam cleansers for bedsores, or "pressure ulcers," however, require confirmation through more research, the research team said.

"These results provide specific evidence to support practice guidelines, which recommend reducing risk factors and improving skin health to prevent pressure ulcers," Pham said in a statement. "We encourage all providers of long-term care to consider these changes."

There are approximately 72,000 long-term care residents in 89 facilities in Ontario. As part of their study, the researchers conducted a phone survey with directors of care at 26 of those facilities and found that only half their beds have pressure reduction foam mattresses, Pham, a doctoral student, said.

The findings are published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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