3 reasons why your patient’s pressure ulcer is unstageable

Question: I have a patient with an old Stage 4 pressure ulcer on the buttock. The patient is coming from a nursing home, and the ulcer is “pretty much healed” down to a pin point. Now the patient is in home health. The nurse wants to call it an unstageable ulcer on the OASIS, and I said “once a stage 4 always a stage 4” – at least for coding purposes?

Lisa says: There are three situations that make a pressure ulcer unstageable–1) eschar and slough, 2) dressing or device that cannot be removed, 3) deep tissue injury. A closing Stage 4 pressure ulcer should be marked as a fully granulating Stage 4. Once it is closed, it is marked as a newly epithelialized Stage 4 and will continue to be marked that way unless the pressure ulcer breaks down again. The pressure ulcer is coded as a Stage 4.

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