Cost-effectiveness of Low-Air-Loss Beds for Treatment of Pressure Ulcers

Published In: Journal of Gerontology: Series A, Medical Sciences, v. 50A, no. 3, May 1995, p. M141-146

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 1994

by Bruce Ferrell, Emmett B. Keeler, Albert L. Siu, Sung-Ho Ahn, Dan Osterweil

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Examines the cost-effectiveness of low-air-loss beds for the healing of pressure ulcers in nursing homes. For the average patient, the cost of a low-air-loss bed was $26 for each day free of pressure ulcers. For patients with mild pressure ulcers and good healing characteristics, the cost-effectiveness of low-air-loss beds is comparable to other accepted health treatments. However, for patients with severe ulcers and poor healing characteristics, the cost effectiveness compares unfavorably with other accepted health treatments, unless the lease cost of the bed is substantially reduced. Studies such as this, which provide information about the cost-effectiveness of various treatments, are important for providers, particularly those under capitated contracts, as they make decisions about which services to offer patients.

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