Preventing in-facility pressure ulcers as a patient safety strategy: a systematic review

Ann Intern Med. 2013 Mar 5;158(5 Pt 2):410-6. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-158-5-201303051-00008.


Complications from hospital-acquired pressure ulcers cause 60,000 deaths and significant morbidity annually in the United States. The objective of this systematic review is to review evidence regarding multicomponent strategies for preventing pressure ulcers and to examine the importance of contextual aspects of programs that aim to reduce facility-acquired pressure ulcers. CINAHL, the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, MEDLINE, and PreMEDLINE were searched for articles published from 2000 to 2012. Studies (any design) that implemented multicomponent initiatives to prevent pressure ulcers in adults in U.S. acute and long-term care settings and that reported pressure ulcer rates at least 6 months after implementation were selected. Two reviewers extracted study data and rated quality of evidence. Findings from 26 implementation studies (moderate strength of evidence) suggested that the integration of several core components improved processes of care and reduced pressure ulcer rates. Key components included the simplification and standardization of pressure ulcer-specific interventions and documentation, involvement of multidisciplinary teams and leadership, use of designated skin champions, ongoing staff education, and sustained audit and feedback.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost Savings
  • Health Facilities / standards*
  • Humans
  • Leadership
  • Long-Term Care
  • Patient Care Team
  • Patient Safety / standards*
  • Pressure Ulcer / prevention & control*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Risk Assessment
  • Safety Management / methods
  • Safety Management / organization & administration*
  • United States