Background: Evidence-based guidelines for pressure ulcer prevention have been developed and promoted by authoritative organizations. However, nonadherence to these guidelines is frequently reported. Negative attitudes and lack of knowledge may act as barriers to using guidelines in clinical practice.
Aims: To study the knowledge and attitudes of nurses about pressure ulcer prevention in Belgian hospitals and to explore the correlation between knowledge, attitudes, and the application of adequate prevention.
Methods: A cross-sectional multicenter study was performed in a random sample of 14 Belgian hospitals, representing 207 wards. Out of that group, 94 wards were randomly selected (2105 patients). Clinical observations were performed to assess the adequacy of pressure ulcer prevention and pressure ulcer prevalence. From each participating ward, a random selection of at least five nurses completed an extensively validated knowledge and attitude instrument. In total, 553 nurses participated. A logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate the correlation between knowledge, attitudes, and the application of adequate prevention.
Results: Pressure ulcer prevalence (Category I-IV) was 13.5% (284/2105). Approximately 30% (625/2105) of the patients were at risk (Bradenscore <17 and/or presence of pressure ulcer). Only 13.9% (87/625) of these patients received fully adequate prevention whilst in bed and when seated. The mean knowledge and attitude scores were 49.7% and 71.3%, respectively. The application of adequate prevention on a nursing ward was significantly correlated with the attitudes of the nurses (OR = 3.07, p = .05). No independent correlation was found between knowledge and the application of adequate prevention (OR = 0.75, p = .71).
Conclusions: Knowledge of nurses in Belgian hospitals about the prevention of pressure ulcers is inadequate. The attitudes of nurses toward pressure ulcers are significantly correlated with the application of adequate prevention. No correlation was found between knowledge and the application of adequate prevention.
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