November 18, 2021, is Worldwide Pressure Injury Prevention Day. Pressure injuries (bedsores) claim the lives of over 60,000 people each year and cost the United States healthcare system over $11 billion annually. Each year 2.5 million Americans get pressure injuries, and over the past 5 years, there has been a disturbing trend of more severe pressure injuries. Unfortunately, a high percentage of pressure injuries lead to death.
Active measures to prevent pressure injuries reduce the high incidence of pressure injuries and the substantial pain associated with pressure injuries. These measures include the following:
Frequent turning and repositioning;
Frequent assessment of the skin;
Avoidance of friction and sheer on the skin;
Range of motion exercises; and
Use of special pressure-reducing mattresses and cushions.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has noted that no other preventable event occurs as frequently as pressure-related injuries. The important part of this statement is that many pressure injuries are "preventable". Caregivers must stay diligent in assessing patients and determining the appropriate interventions necessary to prevent pressure injuries. The failure to do so often leads to substantial pressure injuries.