A team from Hallym University Medical Center has developed a first-of-its-kind AI that reportedly can predict the possibility of patients suffering falls and bedsores. The AI model was developed using big data to predict the possibility of a patient suffering a fall or bedsore in real time.
AI Model Built to Predict Falls and bedsores
To develop the AI model, the team analyzed 280,000 bedsore cases and 160,000 fall cases reported over the past five years. The AI model uses a set of more than 20 factors to predict patient risk, including:
- The patient’s basic information
- Use of drugs or medications that increase the risk of falls
- Use of anticoagulant drugs
- The patient’s recognition of sense
- Degree of activity and mobility
- Nutritional state
- Environmental humidity
- Frictional force
Current models to predict falls and bedsores are restricted to hospitalization or a specific timeframe after surgery or a serious injury. The new AI model is working toward predicting falls and bedsores in real time, at any time.
When a healthcare provider searches for patient information, the AI model can use the patient’s information and calculate the possibility that the patient will suffer a fall or bedsore. The information is displayed to healthcare providers, allowing them to better assess the risks to the patient.
Lee Kang-Il, a team member from Hallym University Medical Center, says,
“The AI model enables healthcare workers to instantly check the possibility of patients suffering from falls and bedsores that changes on a real-time basis depending on what medical treatment is used.”
Anything that healthcare providers can do to protect patients from risks like falls and bedsores is certainly promising. Artificial intelligence (AI) is an increasingly common topic in the medical industry. The potential for AI and other technologies to aid healthcare providers in their roles could be truly life-changing for patients across the world.
Information about Falls
Fall injuries are a concern for older adults, especially those with medical problems and those who take certain medications. Falls are a serious concern in hospitals and nursing homes, as patients recover from injuries and illnesses. Elderly adults are often the subject of conversations about falls, but patients of all ages can experience a fall if they do not get proper care and attention.
Falls in healthcare settings like hospitals and nursing homes are considered “never events.” That means that they should never happen. Sadly, falls do occur, and at an alarming rate. The Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) offers statistics and information about falls in hospitals and nursing homes. Their data shows the following:
Falls in Hospitals:
- Falls occur at a rate of 3-5 falls per 1,000 bed days.
- Around 700,000 to one million hospital patients suffer a fall each year.
- More than one-third of hospital falls result in serious injuries or death.
Falls in Nursing Homes:
- Patients in nursing homes are at a high risk of falls.
- Around half of the 1.6 million nursing home residents in the S. suffer a fall each year.
- In Medicare skilled nursing facilities, 10% of residents experience falls.
- Around 1,800 nursing home deaths each year may be the result of falls.
As mentioned before, falls in healthcare settings should never happen. Often, they are the result of poor care, planning and prevention strategies on the part of healthcare providers or caregivers. Falls may also be a sign of nursing home abuse or neglect.
How to Prevent Falls
Fall prevention is a hot topic among researchers in the healthcare industry. Primarily, fall prevention must include assessing patients for risk. The AHRQ notes that fall prevention strategies should consider a variety of factors, including:
- The health and needs of the individual patient
- Environmental concerns
- Clinical interventions
- Cultural interventions
- Technology and logistics
Information about Bedsores
Bedsores, also called pressure ulcers, are considered by experts to be 100% preventable. Still, estimates suggest that at least 2.5 million people develop bedsores each year in the United States. For several years, the healthcare industry has turned its attention on prevention strategies, especially in hospitals and nursing homes.
The reason why is because bedsores can start out as what appears to be a simple skin irritation, but can quickly develop into something very painful, damaging and even fatal.
What are Bedsores?
Bedsores are localized skin injuries caused by pressure and shear or friction on the skin. Bedsores most often develop on bony areas, such as the elbows, ankles, lower back or heels. When the skin is exposed to friction or prolonged pressure, it becomes inflamed and begins to break down. Without recognition and timely treatment, bedsores can worsen and become life-threatening.
Bedsores worsen and change quickly, and the methods of treating a wound depends on how much damage is already done to the skin and underlying muscle, fat or bone. There are four stages of bedsores which refers to how severe the wound is:
A stage one bedsore is the least severe. At this stage, there are only minor symptoms of a wound developing, such as:
- Skin redness
- Warmth to the touch
A stage one bedsore can be treated easily, with most patients recovering in a few days time. If the wound is not treated, however, it can worsen into a stage two sore.
A stage two bedsore is worse than stage one, but it is still easily treatable. At stage two, the patient may experience symptoms including:
- Loss of skin thickness
- A blister or abrasion
- Skin redness
- Warmth to the touch
With timely treatment, most patients recover in a week up to three weeks. Without treatment, however, a stage two sore worsens into stage three.
A stage three bedsore requires immediate medical attention. At this stage, the wound is open, painful and very susceptible to infection. Patients with a stage three bedsore may experience:
- Full skin thickness loss (the open wound may expose fatty tissue underneath)
- Skin redness
- Skin hardening
- Pus or drainage
- Foul odor
Stage three bedsores have a high risk of infection. The open wound and decaying tissue can also lead to necrosis and possible amputation if the wound is on an extremity (arm or leg). Stage three bedsores also have a high risk of sepsis. These devastating wounds can be treated, but recovery usually takes one to four months.
Stage four bedsores are the most severe. At stage four, the wound is open, deep and very difficult to treat. These wounds are dangerous and can lead to a host of problems for the patient, including infection, amputations or death. Patients with a stage four bedsore may experience:
- A deep crater that exposes tissue and bone
- Damage to the muscle
- Damage to the bone
- Significant amounts of pus or drainage
- Purple or black skin
- Foul odor
Stage four bedsores are devastating and traumatic. Treating them requires a specialized wound care team. Often, surgery is necessary to remove dead tissue and repair damaged muscle. During treatment, infection control is incredibly important. With timely treatment, a stage four bedsore is treatable, but recovery time averages two to six months.
How to Prevent Bedsores
Preventing bedsores begins with a proper assessment of the patient and his or her risk of developing a wound. After the patient receives an assessment, hospitals and caregivers should do the following:
- Conduct daily skin inspections
- Manage skin moisture levels
- Minimize pressure on bony prominences
- Optimize nutrition and hydration
- Reassess patient risk on a daily basis
What Patients and Families Should Know about Falls and Bedsores
Falls and bedsores are two of the most common injuries in the healthcare setting. Sadly, they are also 100% preventable. Patients and their families should be aware of the risks of falls and bedsores. Whether risk assessment includes AI technology or a thorough medical review – all patients should have some sort of risk assessment.
Then, healthcare facilities should develop preventative strategies to protect patients from the risk of falls and bedsores. Failing to assess patients and implement preventative strategies may be a sign of negligence.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney to Discuss Your Fall or Bedsore Case
Medical negligence is never acceptable. Patients who believe their fall injuries or bedsores are the result of medical negligence should contact a Houston medical malpractice attorney to discuss their legal rights. Victims of medical negligence may have grounds to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent healthcare provider. Such a lawsuit could result in the victim recovering compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.
To find out if your fall or bedsore injury is the result of medical negligence, call Brown, Christie & Green for a free consultation. Call us at 1-800-600-4210. You can also complete our online form to get started.