Bed sores are a never ending problem facing nursing home and hospital patients who may be disabled or have limited physical mobility.When patients are permitted to sit or lay in one position for extended periods of time, the physical weight of their bodies pressed against the supportive surface (bed or wheelchair)– over an extended period of time– results in a breakdown of the tissue and skin and eventually an open wound develops known as a bed sore or perhaps more accurately a pressure sore.
In order to prevent this preventable medical condition, medical facilities have gone to great lengths to install specialized mattresses, cushions and other devices to assist in the prevention and treatment of this condition.
While some of these devices may be effective in combating this condition, nothing can take the place of hands-on care provided by skilled nursing staff who take the time to ‘turn’ or ‘rotate’ patients in order to help with the bodies’ natural circulatory process. Similarly, there’s yet to be a machine developed to help detect when a patient has soiled himself and needs to be changed. The bottom line is that bed sore prevention and treatment requires a good deal of physical labor at the hands of skilled workers.
When bed sores do develop on a patient during their admission to a medical facility, the overwhelming number of situations are due to staff not following the patient’s plan of care or simply ignoring their medical needs. In other words, the negligent care of staff. Out of the medical necessity presented by the development of a serious wound compounded by the poor reflection of quality care, many nursing homes and hospitals have made wound care a ‘normal’ part of patient care. Many facilities have teams of nurses and physicians on staff with the primary purpose of treating wounds as they develop.
After reading a report about how the manufacturers of Xexaderm, a cream manufactured by and distributed by Healthpoint Ltd. and DFB Pharmaceuticals, were charged with Medicaid fraud by marketing the cream to nursing homes as a cure for bed sore I was (once again) reminding about the lengths facilities will go to attempt to cover up this incredibly prolific example of inferior medical care. The companies have agreed to reimburse the Medicaid programs at 46 states ($33 million) for intentionally promoting a drug that was based upon the formula of a predecessor that the FDA had deemed to ineffective in treating bed sores.
While I always find it somewhat refreshing when corporations are called out for situations where they have intentionally deceived consumers, I question how this ineffective drug even made it into the repertoire of nursing homes’ wound care programs? Is there no oversight at these facilities when it comes to dispensing medication to their sick and frail patients that has no proven benefit? Clearly, these facilities have a sense of desperation when it comes to covering up their wrongs.