Nutrition and Pressure Sore Healing

The Impact of Nutrition/Hydration on Pressure Sore Healing

A pressure sore results from prolonged pressure to the muscle and bone underneath the skin.

Pressure sores are currently used as an indicator of quality of care and are part of the MDS that long-term care facilities must report. Internally long-term care facilities utilize Pressure sore as a quality control indicator and have developed policies for pressure sore prevention, assessment, and treatment as part of their quality improvement process. Stage 3 and 4 sores always result from poor care and represent by itself evidence of neglect.

Nutrition directly related to Pressure Sores

Nutrition plays a vital role in the development of pressure sores, also known as nursing home bed sores.  Often people who develop pressure sores suffer from poor nutrition or malnutrition. Nutrition and wound nutrition directly impact the wound healing process or managing the wound. Vitamin C and zinc sulphate assist with wound healing.

There are important laboratory values to assist you or your family in determining whether one’s nutrition level is adequate to promote pressure sore healing.  Albumin is a measure of protein available for healing; a normal level is greater than 3.5 g/dL. A level of 2.5 or below is considered severe malnutrition, or protein malnutrition, which directly limits the body’s ability to heal a pressure sore.

Dehydration in the Elderly

Dehydration also affects wound healing by reducing the blood volume available to transport oxygen and nutrients to healing tissues. The state of hydration affects weight and albumin levels. If you or your loved one is losing weight in a nursing home, it is probably because the nursing home is not providing its resident with adequate fluids. Dehydration unfortunately is an all too common problem faced by nursing home patients.

The nutritional status for nursing home residents should be monitored at a minimum of every three months for those at low nutritional risk and monthly for those identified to be at high risk, or malnourished.

Often nursing home pressure sores are caused by the patient not receiving the needed nutritional supplements necessary to prevent and heal a pressure sore.  Often reimbursement rates by Medicare or Medi-Cal do not cover the cost of care. Liquid oral supplements or fortified foods are not reimbursable under state and federal regulations but fall under the daily rate of care, and thus, the nursing home does not provide dietary supplements, choosing profit over patient care.
If you or your loved one suffers or suffered from a pressure sore contact an elder abuse lawyer in Los Angeles or an elder abuse attorney in Orange County.