Prevalence and Risk of Pressure Ulcers in Acute Care Following Implementation of Practice Guidelines: Annual Pressure Ulcer Prevalence Census 1994–2008



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Erratum Volume 34, Issue 1, 65, Article first published online: 13 January 2012

For more information on this article, contact Elizabeth G. VanDenKerkhof at


Hospital-acquired pressure ulcers in the United States were estimated to cost US$2.2 to US$3.6 billion per year in 1999. In the early 1990s clinical practice guidelines for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers were introduced. The purpose of this study was to examine the epidemiology of pressure ulcers in acute care in Canada. The current study is based on 12,787 individuals who were inpatients during a 1-day annual census conducted in an acute care facility in Ontario between 1994 and 2008. The prevalence and incidence of pressure ulcer decreased slightly over time while the risk of pressure ulcer increased. The coccyx sacrum (∼27%), heel (13%), ankle (∼12%), and ischial tubersosity (∼10%) were the most common ulcer sites. The implementation of clinical practice guidelines appears to have improved the quality of patient care, as demonstrated by increasing pressure ulcer risk while the prevalence and incidence of pressure ulcers has remained somewhat constant. From a policy perspective the importance of monitoring and tracking the risk and occurrence of this adverse event provides a general indicator of care, considering the many organizational aspects that may ameliorate risk.