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Study: Patient repositioning leads to lower overall costs

November 7, 2014
positioners

Hospitals focus primarily on patient safety and quality of care. However, they cannot neglect financial responsibility. Health care professionals must find ways to marry the delivery of effective medical care with sound financial decisions.

According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland, and published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, repositioning patients at regular intervals not only reduces the prevalence of pressure ulcers, but it also lowers the overall cost of treatment.

Reducing unnecessary costs

Pressure ulcers potentially add significant time and cost to hospital stays. A study conducted by researchers at the New York University School of Medicine and published August 2013 in volume 22, issue 15-16 of the American Journal of Surgery indicated that stage 4 pressure sores, the most severe variations of the injury, can cost between $124,327 and $129,248 to treat completely over an average of four admissions for in-patient care.

Repositioning patients may reduce the cost and time of pressure ulcers treatments, and the Royal College study sought to gauge the effect of two patient repositioning models on cost of treatment and length of stay. Researchers randomly assigned 213 patients to two groups. The control group rotated patients by 90 degrees once every six hours, while the experimental group rotated patients 30 degrees every three hours. Both used patient positioning equipment to keep patients stabilized. The study collected data over a 4-week period.

The experimental group both reduced the costs associated with pressure ulcer treatments and decreased the time nurses spent on each patient. In the control group, nurses took 24 minutes to reposition individuals and the per patient cost was $343.01. In the experimental group, nurses took just 18 minutes to rotate patients, which lowered per patient costs to $275.29.

The study also projected the aggregate annual costs for each group, with patients in the experimental group costing almost $700,000 less to ultimately treat than those in the control group.

In conclusion, the study found that repositioning patients with a 30 degree turn once every three hours reduced overall treatment costs and saved nurses time that could then be spent on other patients.

Patient positioners designed to aid in pressure redistribution can help medical professionals work even more efficiently. Head Positioner Donuts can reduce the strain on patients' necks and heads, and AliGel Chest Rolls contour to each patient's rib cage for maximum comfort so even when nurses are occupied, AliMed devices keep patients protected from pressure ulcers.

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