With bedsores remaining one of the leading causes of preventable injuries among immobile, hospitalized, or elderly Americans, researchers and innovators are constantly looking for new ways to prevent and diagnose these injuries before severe damage is done. Bruin Biometrics is one such company whose new device has us asking if their handheld scanner could detect bedsores before visual presentation?
Preventative methods, early detection, and immediate treatment of bedsores are crucial elements of preventing infection and permanent tissue damage. At Brown & Brothers, we have seen the devastating effects of bedsores left undiagnosed and treated, and we are dedicated to staying abreast of emerging diagnosis and treatment options in order to better serve our clients. Read on to learn more about how handheld technology could be the key to protecting your loved one from the dangers of bedsores.
Information about Bedsores
Most people know what bedsores are, but many don’t know exactly how they develop, why, or how best to prevent them. For example, most people assume that bedsores originate on the external skin exposed to friction or pressure. The truth is, bedsores often develop under the skin with damage beginning before they are noticeable on the surface.
Yes, bedsores are caused by friction or shear to a pressure point on the body, with skin as the first point of physical contact, but the damage begins beneath the surface of the skin. Most often, bedsores occur on the hips, tailbone, heels, or vertebra. If left undetected or untreated, bedsores can result in a variety of complications including pain, infection, disfigurement, amputation, or even death.
Technology Takes Leap Toward Bedsore Prevention
Researchers have studied the potential benefits of handheld scanners, including Bruin Biometrics’ SEM Scanner. In a study performed across the United States and the United Kingdom, 182 patients at risk of developing bedsores were monitored via daily visual assessments and scans with the SEM Scanner. Over a period of twenty days, researchers found that the SEM Scanner detected pressure damage earlier than visual assessment.
Now available across the U.K., Canada, and Ireland, the SEM Scanner is being considered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval for marketing in the U.S. Researchers and clinical experts claim that the SEM Scanner can provide healthcare providers with objective information about patients who have already suffered visual damage, and also patients where the damage has not yet affected the surface of the skin.
Further research into the effectiveness of the SEM Scanner in preventing bedsores also shows a great deal of promise in practice. Across the U.K. and Canada, seven hospitals have completely eliminated bedsores and two others report an almost 90 percent reduction in the number of bedsore cases.
Continuing research and evidence is proving wrong the misconception that diagnosis is not possible until there is surface evidence that skin is damaged or a wound is present. With the SEM Scanner, a simple bedside scan can tell healthcare providers valuable information about the quality and health of patients at risk for developing bedsores.
Why Bedsore Prevention is So Important
Detecting bedsores and taking action before the skin is ruptured and deeper tissue is damaged could significantly improve outcomes for patients. It could also reduce hospitalization time and overall healthcare costs for patients and their families.
Across the U.S. and the U.K., it is estimated that 18-25 percent of patients in hospitals and long-term care facilities suffer from bedsores. In the U.S. alone, that accounts for 2.5 million people developing bedsores every year. Of those, as many as 60,000 people die from bedsores or related complications like sepsis, cellulitis, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection, or cancer.
And the problem of bedsores is not confined to the U.S. In the European Union (EU), another 2.5 million people develop bedsores every year, with 500,000 of those in the U.K. Research and technological innovation that spans a worldwide problem is significant at improving overall health.
Understand the Risks and Protect Your Loved Ones
Preventing bedsores is much easier than treating them once damage has been done. If you have a loved one who is immobile, confined to a bed or wheelchair, elderly in a nursing home, or hospitalized, it is important to understand the risks of bedsores, how to prevent them, and why immediate treatment is necessary.
In most cases, bedsores are easily prevented when healthcare providers or caregivers correctly monitor and provide care to the immobile individual. Proper care may include (but is not limited to):
- Proper turning or re-positioning
- Adequate hygiene
- Maintaining clean bedding and linens
- Proper nutrition and hydration
- Knowing how to identify pressure points
- Knowing how to use preventative methods (linens, pillows, technology, etc.)
- Immediate medical attention when bedsores develop
- Proper care and continued treatment of present bedsores
The unfortunate reality is that many patients suffer from bedsores and related complications due to the fact that healthcare providers simply don’t know how to properly recognize and treat their injuries, or are negligent in properly caring for the individual.
Understanding and Protecting Legal Rights
Not only is failing to recognize, address, treat, or prevent bedsores simply unacceptable, it is also often a violation of the patient’s legal rights. Patients have the right to quality care in any healthcare setting, including nursing homes. When healthcare providers or caregivers are negligent and cause injuries, it is important to understand and protect the rights of the individuals harmed.
That is the heart of what the team at Brown & Brothers strives to do – protect and defend those harmed by the negligence of others. To learn more about your legal rights as a patient, or to find out if you have a bedsore case, contact our office today for a free case evaluation. Fill out our online form to get started today.