Background: Pressure ulcers remain a common health problem worldwide within the different health-care settings, especially in intensive care settings.
Aims: The aims of this were to systematically assess the recent prevalence and incidence of pressure ulcers in intensive care patients (2000–2005), the factors related to pressure ulcer prevalence and incidence and the methodological rigour of studies about pressure ulcer prevalence and incidence in intensive care patients.
Methods: The research design involved a review of literature for the period of 2000 to 2005, focused on the prevalence and incidence of pressure ulcers in intensive care patients.
Results: The analysis of published papers revealed variations in pressure ulcer prevalence in intensive care settings ranging from 4% in Denmark to 49% in Germany, while incidence ranged from 38% to 124%. There was a wide variation in the prevalence and incidence of pressure ulcers in intensive care patients as evidenced in the studies examined. There is also a gap between theory and practice in the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers which needs to be addressed.
Conclusion: Further research is needed regarding the effectiveness of nursing care on pressure ulcer development and into treatments that may successfully prevent their occurrence in intensive care patients.