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Br J Nurs. 2005 Apr 28-May 11;14(8):455-9.

An evaluation of the Waterlow pressure ulcer risk-assessment tool.

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Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospital NHS Trust, Slough, Berkshire.


The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE, 2001) stated that in order to achieve clinical governance strategies, risk management in the form of pressure ulcer risk assessment will contribute to improved quality of patient care. Risk-assessment tools must display high-predictive values, be highly sensitive and specific, reliable, and easy and convenient to use. Despite their extensively documented poor performance, pressure ulcer risk-assessment scales play a primary role in the prevention and management of pressure ulcers. The tools attempt to determine patients' risk status by quantifying a range of the most commonly recognized risk factors. Although there are over 40 different assessment tools, the Waterlow pressure ulcer risk-assessment tool is the tool that is most widely used in the UK. This article aims to review studies relating to the reliability, content validity, predictive validity, concurrent validity and the construct validity of the Waterlow pressure ulcer risk-assessment tool.

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