Cost-effectiveness of low-air-loss beds for treatment of pressure ulcers

B. A. Ferrell, E. Keeler, A. L. Siu, S. H. Ahn, D. Osterweil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background. Cost-effectiveness of low-air-loss beds for the healing of pressure ulcers was analyzed in the nursing home setting. A statistical model of pressure ulcer healing was used to estimate cost-effectiveness based on patient and ulcer characteristics. Methods. Results of a previous randomized trial (84 patients from three nursing homes in Los Angeles) were reanalyzed and combined with estimates of costs to calculate the cost-effectiveness in dollars per added day free of pressure ulcers achieved by the use of low- air-loss beds compared to conventional foam mattresses. Results. The cost- effectiveness of the low-air-loss bed was $26 per added day free of ulcers for our standard patient. Results were sensitive to low-air-loss bed lease costs and patient and wound healing characteristics. Results were less sensitive to expected mortality, daily wound care costs, and time-frame of consideration. Low-air-loss beds were more cost-effective for patients with good healing characteristics and mild ulcers. Conclusions. Findings support the expanded use of this technology for patients with mild pressure ulcers and good healing characteristics. For these patients, the cost-effectiveness of low-air-loss beds is comparable to other accepted health treatments. For patients with severe ulcers and poor healing characteristics, low-air-loss bed cost-effectiveness compares poorly with other accepted health treatments unless the lease cost can be substantially reduced, or unless life with a pressure ulcer is valued close to death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)M141-M146
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Cost-effectiveness of low-air-loss beds for treatment of pressure ulcers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this