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Pressure sores result in patient morbidity and mortality as well as commanding considerable resources within the British National Health Service To assess the impact of preventive measures, accurate and reliable rates of prevalence and incidence are required This information is likely to be used as a measure of quality of care as well being included in future purchaser/provider contracting A number of prevalence studies have been carried out in the United Kingdom using a variety of populations and different methods The methods employed in these studies need to be considered before any meaningful comparisons can be drawn In particular, there are variations in the reported rates possibly related to the under-reporting of pressure sore prevalence This paper describes a recent point prevalence study which suggested that this may be the case The need for caution when comparing crude ratesis highlighted and the importance of standardizing the methods used for determining prevalence rates is discussed