Background: Pressure ulcers remain a common health problem worldwide within the different health-care settings, especially in intensive care settings.
Aims: The aims of this were to systematically assess the recent prevalence and incidence of pressure ulcers in intensive care patients (2000-2005), the factors related to pressure ulcer prevalence and incidence and the methodological rigour of studies about pressure ulcer prevalence and incidence in intensive care patients.
Methods: The research design involved a review of literature for the period of 2000 to 2005, focused on the prevalence and incidence of pressure ulcers in intensive care patients.
Results: The analysis of published papers revealed variations in pressure ulcer prevalence in intensive care settings ranging from 4% in Denmark to 49% in Germany, while incidence ranged from 38% to 124%. There was a wide variation in the prevalence and incidence of pressure ulcers in intensive care patients as evidenced in the studies examined. There is also a gap between theory and practice in the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers which needs to be addressed.
Conclusion: Further research is needed regarding the effectiveness of nursing care on pressure ulcer development and into treatments that may successfully prevent their occurrence in intensive care patients.