Pressure-relieving equipment: promoting its correct use amongst nurses via differing modes of educational delivery


  • Claire Wedge BA, RN,

  • Margot Gosney MD, FRCP

Health and Community Care Research Unit
The University of Liverpool
School of Health Sciences
Thompson Yates Building
Brownlow Hill
Liverpool L69 3GB
Telephone: 0151 794 5288


Aims and objectives.  To examine the impact of written and verbal education on bed-making practices, in an attempt to reduce the prevalence of pressure ulcers.

Background.  The Department of Health has set targets for a 5% reduction per annum in the incidence of pressure ulcers. Electric profiling beds with a visco-elastic polymer mattress are a new innovation in pressure ulcer prevention; however, mattress efficacy is reduced by tightly tucking sheets around the mattress.

Design.  A prospective randomized pre/post-test experimental design.

Methods.  Ward managers at a teaching hospital were approached to participate in the study. Two researchers independently examined the tightness of the sheets around the mattresses. Wards were randomized to one of two groups. Groups A and B received written education. In addition, group B received verbal education on alternate days for one week. Beds were re-examined one month later. One researcher was blinded to the educational delivery received by the wards.

Results.  Twelve wards agreed to participate in the study and 245 beds were examined. Before education, 113 beds (46%) had sheets tucked correctly around the mattresses. Following education, this increased to 215 beds (87.8%) (χ2 = 68.03, P < 0.001). There was no significant difference in the number of correctly made beds between the two different education groups: 100 (87.72%) beds correctly made in group A vs. 115 (87.79%) beds in group B (χ2 = 0, P = 0.987).

Conclusions.  Clear, concise written instruction improved practice but verbal education was not additionally beneficial.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Nurses are receptive to clear, concise written evidence regarding pressure ulcer prevention and incorporate this into clinical practice.