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J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs. 2001 Nov;28(6):279-89.

Subscales, subscores, or summative score: evaluating the contribution of Braden Scale items for predicting pressure ulcer risk in older adults receiving home health care.

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The University of Kansas, School of Nursing, Kansas City, Kansas 66160, USA.



The purpose of this study was to determine whether certain Braden subscales or subscores were more important than others or the summative score in predicting stage I to IV pressure ulcers among older adults receiving home health care.


A retrospective cohort study (secondary analysis) was used.


The cohort sample included 1684 nonhospice patients who were not receiving intravenous therapy and who were admitted to the Intermittent Skilled Nursing Division of a large midwestern home health care agency between January 1995 and March 1996. The patients were > or =60 years and free of pressure ulcers.


Demographic data and data on the Braden Scale were extracted from admission information. Patient records were followed forward chronologically to 1 of 2 outcomes: development or absence of pressure ulcers (ie, free of pressure ulcers upon discharge, institutionalization, death, or the end of the study period).


Following admission, a stage I to IV pressure ulcer developed in 107 subjects (incidence = 6.3%). Cox regression analysis revealed that activity and moisture subscale scores predicted pressure ulcer development. Regression modeling of individual Braden Scale subscores (response categories) revealed that problems with friction/shear, being very limited in mobility, and being constantly moist, very moist, or occasionally moist predicted pressure ulcer development. When the overall level of risk was added to each of these models, the Braden Scale summative score was most strongly related to pressure ulcer development. No simplified scale improved risk prediction.


When the Braden Scale was used, the summative score rather than any subscale or subscore best predicted pressure ulcer risk among the older adults receiving home health care.

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