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April 28, 2020 3 min read

Did you know the majority of pressure ulcers are preventable... 'prevention is the best cure of all', as they say.

I was reading this article the other day that said 'Every year pressure ulcers affect thousands of acute care and nursing facility patients. The annual costs associated with treatment are excessive, with a significant share spent on pressure ulcer treatment in long-term care settings. Lawsuit claims and settlement costs have increased – and will continue to rise. While the financial costs associated with pressure ulcers are great, the cost to the patient is even greater in terms of pain, depression, shame, stress, infection, and increased mortality and morbidity'.

They also said 'Working together, we can implement activities and processes to ensure quality care for patients with pressure ulcers and those who are at high risk of developing them'.

The economics of pressure ulcer management; 

A pressure ulcer represents a frequently encountered yet largely preventable, physical injury that can be associated with significant humanitarian and financial costs. Costs associated with pressure ulcers include:

✚ prevention and treatment initiatives

✚ increased demand on nursing care

✚ nurse and patient education programs 

✚ equipment, medicines, dressings and nutritional supplements

✚ increased length of stay (bed blocking)

✚ surgery

✚ risk of litigation

✚ increased patient / carer complaints

✚ back injury among nursing staff and carers

✚ containing and treating drug resistant infection chronic wounds

Some Australian statistics;

1. A Victorian statewide survey of 6,936 patients identified a point prevalence of 17.6% (1)

2. A study within the Australian public hospitals during 2001-2002 predicted that the economic loss due to lost bed days (purely due to pressure ulcers) was $285 million (2)

3. PRIME Trial Results 2005 (3);

Study Population: 1,956 Residents from 23 Aged Care Facilities in 4 states                                                                                             Pressure Ulcer: 25.9%                                                                                                                                                                    Prevalence: (42% in some studies)

Primary Causes

Stages of Ulcers

Pressure 67.5%

Stage 1, 44.1%

Shear 24.8%

Stage 2, 43.9%

Friction 1.8%

Stage 3, 5.6%

Unknown 6%

Stage 4, 6.5%


The financial implications

✚ estimated costs to the Australian economy (4) = $350 million per year

✚ average cost per patient (5) = > $11,000 per year 

✚ extreme case (Tasmania) (6) = $61,230

Keeping all this in mind, I think the Wonder Sheet could save them millions. As soon as the distancing rules have been lifted with the COVID-19 we will be trialing the Wonder Sheet +PLUS design in aged care facilities. Do you have a loved one in a nursing home that you think the Wonder Sheet would help? Please let us know. 

 Notes for above;
(1) Victorian Quality Council, VQC State-wide PUPPS Report––2006: Pressure ulcer point prevalence survey. Department of Human Services 2006.
(2) Graves N, Birrell FA, Whitby M (2005). Modelling the economic losses from pressure ulcers among hospitalized patients in Australia. Wound Repair and Regeneration; 13: 462-467
(3) Ellis I et al, (2006). Pressure Ulcer Management in Australian Nursing Homes: the PRIME trial organisational study. Primary Intention vol.14 No 3, August 2006.
(4) Wooldridge M. Address at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, 2 July 1997
(5) Davenport J. Journal Stomal Therapy Australia 1999; 17(2): 5-9
(6) Young C. Prime Intent 1997; 5(4): 24-31