Objective: To identify predictors of pressure ulcers in men with spinal cord injury over a 3-year period.
Design: Longitudinal, two-panel, cohort.
Participants: One hundred eighteen men with spinal cord injury.
Measures: Interviews, questionnaires, and physical examinations were completed in two phases, 3 years apart. Information obtained included demographic and spinal cord injury characteristics; ulcer history; health beliefs and practices; measures of impairment, disability, and handicap; and skin integrity.
Results: Thirty-one percent of the participants reported having a pressure ulcer in the 12 months before Phase 2. Some Phase 1 predictors of self-reported ulcers in the year before Phase 2 were a younger age at onset of spinal cord injury, previous pressure ulcer surgery, and the presence of a pressure ulcer in the year before Phase 1. On examination at Phase 2, 59% presented with an ulcer. Phase 1 predictors of ulcer presence at Phase 2 examination were similar to predictors for self-reported ulcers.
Conclusion: Individuals with the identified predictive characteristics are at greater risk for developing pressure ulcers. These individuals should receive additional interventions to reduce that risk. Potential interventions include more systematic and frequent follow-up, frequent review of pressure ulcer prevention and management strategies, and provision of needed personal assistance and relevant equipment.