Journal articlesWorking to reduce pressure ulcers in Scotland

Working to reduce pressure ulcers in Scotland

01/09/11 | Pressure Ulcers, Service delivery | Susan Baxter, Susan Downie

Every year, thousands of people in Scotland are affected by pressure ulcers, which can be painful, debilitating and life-threatening (Hopkins et al, 2006). Pressure ulcers are areas of tissue damage that typically occur in people who are unable to reposition themselves, such as the acutely ill, the elderly and the malnourished. The cost of treating a pressure ulcer imposes a significant financial burden on healthcare services, and treatment costs can range from £1,000 to £17,000 depending on the severity of the ulcer (Bennett et al, 1994). Costs increase in the most severe cases because healing time is longer and the incidence of complications is higher. Pressure ulcers cost the NHS an estimated £1.4–2.1 billion annually (Department of Health [DH]). Such figures, however, do not include the rising litigation costs associated with pressure ulcers.