Pressure ulcers: knowledge and attitude of nurses and nursing assistants in Belgian nursing homes

J Clin Nurs. 2012 May;21(9-10):1425-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2011.03878.x. Epub 2011 Nov 1.


Aims: To gain insight into the knowledge and attitudes of nurses and nursing assistants and to study the correlation between knowledge, attitudes and the compliance with the pressure ulcer prevention guidelines provided to residents at risk of pressure ulcers in nursing homes.

Background: There is a lack of evidence on knowledge and attitudes of nurses and nursing assistants towards pressure ulcer prevention in nursing homes.

Design: A cross-sectional multi-centre study.

Methods: A convenience sample of nine Belgian nursing homes, representing 18 wards was chosen in the study. In total, 145 nurses and nursing assistants were included. The compliance with the guidelines was evaluated in 615 residents, and data were collected using validated instruments.

Results: Fully compliant prevention was found in only 6·9% of the residents at risk. The mean knowledge score of the nurses was 29·3 vs. 28·7% for the nursing assistants. The overall attitude score was 74·5%, and attitude scores were significantly different between nurses and nursing assistants. Nurses showed to have a more positive attitude towards pressure ulcer prevention than nursing assistants, respectively 78·3 and 72·3%. A more positive attitude was a significant predictor of pressure ulcer prevention compliance with the guidelines provided to residents at risk of pressure ulcers in nursing homes.

Conclusions: Knowledge about pressure ulcer prevention of both nurses and nursing assistants in nursing homes was low. Attitudes were a significant predictor of the application of fully compliant prevention in residents at risk.

Relevance to clinical practice: Pressure ulcer prevention is an important aspect in daily care for residents at risk in nursing homes. These insights will contribute to evidence-based practice in this area of care and will form the basis for the development of an education strategy for pressure ulcer prevention and management in nursing homes.

MeSH terms

  • Belgium
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Pressure Ulcer / epidemiology*
  • Pressure Ulcer / nursing