Q&A: If a resident has wounds from lying on the floor for more than 24 hours after a fall at home, would the wounds be considered trauma or pressure ulcers?

Rena R. Shephard, MHA, RN, RAC-MT, DNS-CT, QCP-MT

Question: We admitted a resident who fell at home and was on the floor for more than 24hrs. He was admitted with wounds on his L knee and L foot (pressure points). He developed the wounds because he was on the floor too long and not able to move. He did not develop the wound from the "actual" fall. Some nurses think it should be coded as "traumatic" wounds and NOT pressure ulcers. For me, they should be considered pressure ulcers. Are these considered pressure ulcers or trauma wounds?

Answer: If they were caused by the constant pressure of the skin being pressed against the floor, then they are pressure ulcers. If they occurred as a direct result of hitting the floor, they would be due to trauma.

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