Impact of pressure ulcers on quality of life in older patients: a systematic review

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2009 Jul;57(7):1175-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2009.02307.x. Epub 2009 May 21.


Objectives: To identify the impact of pressure ulcers (PUs) and PU interventions on health-related quality of life (HRQL).

Design: Systematic review and metasynthesis of primary research reporting the impact of PU and PU interventions on HRQL according to direct patient reports. Quality assessment criteria were developed and applied. Data extraction identified findings in the form of direct quotes from patients or questionnaire items and domain results. Combined synthesis of qualitative and quantitative research was performed using content analysis to generate categories and themes from findings. Thirteen electronic databases were searched, and hand searching, cross-referencing, contact with experts, and an online search was undertaken. No language restrictions were applied.

Setting: Adults with PUs in acute, community, and long-term care settings across Europe, the United States, Asia, and Australia.

Participants: Thirty-one studies including 2,463 participants with PUs were included in the review. Ages ranged from 17 to 96.

Results: The review included 10 qualitative and 21 quantitative studies; 293 findings, 46 categories, and 11 themes emerged. The 11 HRQL themes were physical impact, social impact, psychological effect, PU symptoms, general health, and other impacts of PUs: healthcare professional-client relationships, need for versus effect of interventions, impact on others, financial impact, perceived etiology, and need for knowledge.

Conclusion: There is evidence that PUs and PU interventions have a significant impact on HRQL and cause substantial burden to patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Pressure Ulcer* / complications
  • Pressure Ulcer* / physiopathology
  • Pressure Ulcer* / prevention & control
  • Pressure Ulcer* / psychology
  • Quality of Life*
  • Risk Factors