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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2003 Sep;51(9):1203-12.

The minimum data set pressure ulcer indicator: does it reflect differences in care processes related to pressure ulcer prevention and treatment in nursing homes?

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  • 1Division of Geriatrics, School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.



To determine whether nursing homes (NHs) that score in the extreme quartiles of pressure ulcer (PU) prevalence as reported on the Minimum Data Set (MDS) PU quality indicator provide different PU care.


Descriptive, cohort.


Sixteen NHs.


Three hundred twenty-nine NH residents at risk for PU development as determined by the PU Resident Assessment Protocol of the MDS.


: Sixteen care process quality indicators (10 specific to PU care processes, five related to nutrition, and one related to incontinence management) were scored using medical record data, direct human observation, interviews, and data from wireless thigh movement monitors.


There were no differences between homes with low- and high-PU prevalence rates reported on the MDS PU quality indicator on most care processes. NHs with high PU prevalence rates used pressure-reduction surfaces more frequently and were better at documentation of four wound characteristics when PUs were present. No measure of PU care processes was better in low-PU NHs. Neither low- nor high-PU prevalence NHs routinely repositioned residents every 2 hours, even though 2-hour repositioning was documented in the medical record for nearly all residents.


The assumption that homes with fewer PUs and thus low PU prevalence according to the MDS PU quality indicator are providing better PU care was not supported in this sample. NHs that scored low on the MDS PU quality indicator did not provide significantly better care than NHs that scored high. All NHs could improve PU prevention, as evidenced by the poor performance on prevention care processes by low- and high-PU NHs. The MDS PU quality indicator is not a useful measure of the quality of PU care in NHs and can be misleading if not presented with an explanation of the meaning of the indicator.

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