Study design: Multicenter prospective cohort study.
Objectives: To determine the occurrence and predictors for pressure ulcers in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) during primary in-patient rehabilitation.
Setting: Eight Dutch rehabilitation centres with specialized SCI units.
Methods: The occurrence, location and stage of pressure ulcers were registered between admission and start of functional rehabilitation (called acute rehabilitation phase) and between start of functional rehabilitation and discharge. Possible risk factors for the occurrence of pressure ulcers during functional rehabilitation (personal and lesion characteristics, complications and functional independence) were measured at the start of functional rehabilitation and were entered as predictors in univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis with pressure ulcers during functional rehabilitation as the dependent variable.
Results: Data for 193 patients (86%) were available. The occurrence of pressure ulcers, including stage 1, was 36.5% during acute rehabilitation phase and 39.4% during functional rehabilitation. Most pressure ulcers were located at the sacrum (43%), followed by heel (19%) and ischium (15%). The significant risk factors for pressure ulcers during functional rehabilitation were motor completeness of the lesion, tetraplegia, pressure ulcer during acute rehabilitation phase, pneumonia and/or pulmonary disease, low score on the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) self-care, continence, transfers, locomotion and total FIM motor score. Having had a pressure ulcer during acute rehabilitation phase was the strongest risk factor.
Conclusion: The occurrence of pressure ulcers was comparable with other studies. A few significant risk factors were found, of which having had a pressure ulcer during acute rehabilitation phase being the strongest predictor.