Monitoring the pressure sore problem in a teaching hospital


  • Carol Dealey BSc(Hons) SRN RCNT

    Clinical Nurse Specialist in Tissue Viability, Corresponding author
    1. Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Community Hospitals Division, South Birmingham Health Authority, Birmingham, England
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Carol Dealey, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre Birmingham B15 2TH England


During 1989 and 1990 a senes of three prevalence surveys were undertaken in a West Midlands teaching hospital to identify the numbers of patients at risk of developing pressure sores and the actual number of patients with pressure sores, prior to the purchase of pressure relieving equipment A further survey was undertaken in January 1993 to examine any improvement in pressure sore prevention strategies and in the care of those with established pressure sores All in-patients were assessed using the Waterlow score Full details of all pressure sores and any pressure relieving equipment in use was recorded The findings were compared with those of the first survey in 1989 The prevalence for 1989 was 8 77%, and this had reduced slightly to 7 9% in 1993 There was no significant difference in these figures However, in 1989 35 patients had 64 pressure sores and in 1993 32 patients had 46 pressure sores There was a significant reduction in the actual numbers of pressure sores There was no significant difference in the grades of sores and the sacrum was the most frequent position in both surveys The survey showed an improvement in the management of established pressure sores There was little change in the patient populations with respect to the degree of risk of pressure sore development Using the Waterlow score, the numbers of patients found to be in the no risk, at risk, high risk and very high risk categories remained remarkably stable These surveys will continue to provide a basis for selecting pressure relieving equipment Measurement of pressure sore incidence is needed in the future to monitor the efficacy of the prevention programme