March 11, 2019 7:11 pm
Updated: March 12, 2019 8:20 am

Nova Scotia hospital bedsore numbers rising and falling

WATCH: Recently released numbers show a steep increase in the number of pressure sores experienced by hospital patients in Nova Scotia. Opposition MLAs say it's part of a declining health care system but the Nova Scotia Health Authority says the numbers don't tell the whole story. Jeremy Keefe has the latest.

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At first glance, it would appear that the number of Nova Scotia hospital patients with bedsores is rising dramatically.

In 2018, 10 were reported in the first quarter while only six were noted in the second.

However, the third quarter more than quadruples the previous one with 26 reported incidents.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia still lacks policy to combat pressure sores in nursing homes

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But the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) says there’s a reason for the sharp jump in the October to December data collection period.

“Each year in the third quarter … we do a prevalence study,” explained Colin Stevenson, VP of Quality & System Performance for the NSHA. “A dedicated team of clinicians assesses every single inpatient within the organization.”

Year over year, they say, the numbers are actually going down despite the appearance of an increase quarter to quarter.

“We’re actually seeing an improvement,” Stevenson said.

“That spike as a percentage of total patients has gone down each year over the last three years,” he explained. “Starting at 14 per cent, down to 12.5, down to just below 12 and this year down to approximately ten per cent.”

WATCH: Initiatives to address bed sores still underway after death of Nova Scotia woman

The improving annual situation Stevenson said comes down to an increased focus on educating staff members on identifying sores earlier and more widespread understanding of how to treat them.

“That’s certainly, we feel, having an impact,” Stevenson said. “We’ve also seen across the province a few very specific or dedicated teams coming together to try to address it within care environments.”

“We’ve seen in those situations those particular facilities be able to substantially drop their rates as well,” he said.

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