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Adv Wound Care. 1997 Jan-Feb;10(1):21-4.

Measuring prevalence and incidence of pressure ulcers.

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  • 1College of Nursing, University of Iowa, Iowa City.


The current competitive health care environment has intensified the need for data that provide a snapshot of the realities of clinical practice. As decision making moves from a clinically based perspective to one grounded in scientific data, health care providers are increasingly being challenged to document the extent of a problem and the effectiveness of its management. This is especially true with pressure ulcers, which are viewed as high-volume, high-risk problems in most health care settings. Moreover, in long-term care facilities, regulatory agencies have designated the development of pressure ulcers as an indicator of quality of care provided to patients. Thus, it is essential that data related to the scope and severity of pressure ulcers in a facility be gathered accurately. The aim of this article is to describe a methodology for determining prevalence and incidence of pressure ulcers that accurately measures the effectiveness of preventive intervention. The importance of risk assessment and of clear operational definitions of the population and a case will be addressed.

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