What measurement means for pressure ulcers

A pressure ulcer (bed sore) is a skin wound that can happen when patients are bed-ridden even for a short period of time, such as while recovering from surgery. Pressure ulcers can lead to infection.

When patients stay in one position too long without shifting their weight, constant pressure against the skin reduces blood supply to that area causing the skin to die. A pressure ulcer starts as reddened skin, but gets worse forming a blister that can lead to a large open sore.

Patients who develop pressure ulcers after surgery are at risk for complications such as:

  • Sepsis (an infection of the blood), which can lead to organ failure
  • Cellulitis, an infection of the skin’s connective tissue
  • Bone and joint infections
  • Death
How to understand the Pressure Ulcer measure

Some hospitals may experience a greater number of patients with pressure ulcers because they see more sick patients. Our pressure ulcer rate information is shown as a comparison between a hospital’s actual rate and the rate expected for that hospital. A rate that is the “Same” or “Better” than expected can be a sign of high-quality care.