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Reducing the incidence of pressure ulcers

The current situation

Malnourished patients are 2 times more likely to develop a pressure ulcer in the hospital.1

Collaborative leadership

How can you and your care team reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers?

All clinicians can play an integral role in the screening process and prevention of pressure ulcers.

  • Pressure ulcers can develop in as little as 2 hours.2
  • Pressure ulcers can increase length of stay by 4.3 days.3

Nutrition intervention

Rapid nutrition intervention is important to your patients’ recovery.

Nutrition care, in addition to standard medical care, has been shown to reduce pressure ulcer incidence by25%.4 Some specific evidence-based guidelines from the NPUAP and WOCN are:

  • Offer high-protein mixed oral nutrition supplements, in addition to the usual diet, to individuals with nutritional risk due to acute and chronic disease, or following a surgical intervention.5 (Strength of Evidence A)
  • Offer elderly patients recovering from acute illness two daily nutritional supplements to help avoid the development of pressure ulcers.6

Enhanced procedures

How can your hospital’s procedures be enhanced to help reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers?

  1. Recognize and diagnose all patients at risk of malnutrition
    • Identify patients at risk of developing pressure ulcers with facility-specific screening tools, like the Malnutrition Screening Tool.
  2. Rapidly implement nutrition interventions and continue monitoring your patients
    • Enhance pressure ulcer prevention policies by including early nutrition intervention.
    • Promote teamwork between nutrition services and nursing to educate patients on the benefits of nutrition as a part of their care.
  3. Develop a discharge plan for patient nutrition care and education
    • Empower all clinicians to provide nutrition education, outpatient instructions, and other resources for continued compliance with patients’ nutrition care plan.

Reducing the incidence of pressure ulcers PDF(395 KB)

Find out how nutrition can improve patient outcomes and reduce the incidence of falls, infections and reduce avoidable readmissions.

1 Banks M et al. Nutrition 2010;26:896–901.
2Lyder, CH JAMA 2003;289:223-226.
3Graves, N et al. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2005;26:293-297.
4Stratton RJ, et al. Ageing Res Rev. 2005;4(3):422-450.
5EPUAP (European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel)/NPUAP (National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel) Guideline for Prevention and Management of Pressure Ulcers, June 2010.
6WOCN (Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nurses)