Multidisciplinary teams cut costs but do not improve pressure ulcer healing in nursing homes, study finds

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Nursing homes could save money by using multi-disciplinary teams for pressure ulcer treatment, although these teams may not improve clinical outcomes, according to recently published research.

Investigators at various Canadian hospitals and universities conducted the trial at 12 long-term care facilities. It involved 137 residents with pressure ulcers. An advance practice nurse with expertise in pressure ulcer prevention and treatments conducted staff education at the facilities, which also were in touch with a multi-disciplinary, hospital-based wound care team via email, telephone and videoconferencing.

After the 17-month trial, the participating facilities saw a $650 reduction in mean care costs per resident, compared with the costs of “usual care” for pressure ulcers, the researchers found. Based on qualitative data, they attributed this to the APNs discontinuing expensive treatments.

However, no “statistically significant” differences in rates of healing occurred, the investigators reported. This could be because staff at the facilities had an “insufficient allocation” of time for wound care, they surmised.

Findings appear in BMC Health Services Research.

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