In 1996, following the death of our mother from a hospital-caused pressure ulcer, my brother Gary and I founded the National Decubitus Foundation. Gary died in September from a rare form of cancer. Our hope, and even expectation, when we undertook this effort to eradicate the hospital-caused pressure ulcer, was that one or more wealthy individuals whose families had suffered from bedsores would make large donations that would put the NDF on a firm financial footing. But that has not happened. In all likelihood this effort will end with our deaths.
But there are some encouraging signs, as reported in the Fall 2015 issue of the NDF newsletter just published today:
1. One of the largest hospitals in Hong Kong has, in effect, adopted the NDF Prevention Protocol by purchasing 300 pressure-relieving support surfaces and providing them to all at-risk patients. Ulcer formation dropped by over 70%, and further improvement is expected.
2. Many hospitals are following the lead of Kaiser-Permanente and forming their own insurance companies, either on their own or as part of an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). This completely changes the incentives for bedsore prevention, because hospitals that have already been paid by the patient's annual insurance premium profit greatly by avoiding the expense of treating pressure ulcers, whereas those being paid for each procedure by the outside insurer gain cash flow by having to treat pressure ulcers.