A recent report is touting the use of ultrasound to detect bed sores, or pressure ulcers. Bed sores are created by unrelieved pressure on bony prominences of the body such as the heels, elbows, and sacrum. Unrelieved pressure results in tissue death which in turn leads to the skin opening which permits the entry of infecting bacteria.
Bed sores are enormously painful and can ultimately lead to the death of the residents. They are very expensive to treat and are a frequent cause of litigation against nursing homes.
The article featured in this entry touts the use of ultrasound in showing that the facility was not responsible for the development of the bed sores. It claims that ultrasound was far more sensitive to detecting tissue injuries than visual assessment which is the traditional tool for detecting bed sores and intiating treatment for them.
Federal regulations require that when a resident enters a nursing home without bed sores, they must not develop them unless they are clinically unavoidable, which is a very high standard to meet. They also require that treatment be initiated to prevent the progession of the sores into more serious wounds and to prevent infection.
If this research is validated, it will quickly become a standard of care in the industry for assessing patients not only at admission but throughout the course of their stay in the nursing home.