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Decreased rates of pressure injuries linked to better preventive care

December 15, 2016

December 15, 2016 - Rates of new pressure injuries in U.S. hospitals and other acute care settings have decreased by about half over the past decade, according to national survey data reported in the Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing. Official journal of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses (WOCN®) Society, the Journal of WOCN® is published by Wolters Kluwer.

Reductions in pressure injury prevalence are ascribed to improved preventive practices--likely spurred at least partly by changes in Medicare/Medicaid payment policy, suggests the data report from the International Pressure Ulcer Prevalence™ (IPUP) Survey. Catherine VanGilder, MBA, BS, MT, CCRA, of Hill-Rom, Batesville, Ind., is lead author of the new paper, posted today on the">Journal of WOCN website.

Findings Include Sharp Decline in 'Facility-Acquired' Pressure Injuries

The researchers analyzed US data on more than 918,000 patients reported to the IPUP between 2006 and 2015. The IPUP is the largest global running pressure injury database, with over 1,000 facilities contributing data on more than 100,000 patients each year.

The data showed a trend toward declining percentages of patients with pressure injuries. The overall prevalence of pressure injuries decreased from 13.5 percent in 2006 to 9.3 percent in 2015--a relative reduction of 31 percent, across all care settings.

The findings included significant reductions in "facility-acquired prevalence" (FAP), which measures new pressure injuries developing after the patient was admitted to the hospital or other reporting facility. The FAP decreased from 6.2 percent in 2006 to a range of 3.1 to 3.4 percent in 2013-2015--a 50 percent relative reduction.

More than 90 percent of patients were reported from acute care settings, such as academic medical centers and community hospitals. In these settings, the FAP declined from 6.4 percent in 2006 to 2.9 percent in 2015.

The greatest reductions in prevalence occurred between 2008 and 2009. That likely reflected a change in payment policy by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). In 2008, the CMS discontinued acute care payments for ancillary care of hospital-acquired pressure injuries.

The prevalence of pressure injuries varied in other settings--long-term care, long-term acute care, and rehabilitation--with no clear-cut directional trends. Analysis of patient characteristics found that body weight increased in most care settings while, unexpectedly, patient age decreased.

However, based on a standard prediction scale (the Braden score), there was no significant change in the patients' risk of pressure injury. This indicates that the declines in prevalence most likely resulted from improved pressure injury prevention practices, rather than any change in patient risk factors.

"Pressure injuries are a significant clinical complication for patients and a financial and quality issue for health care facilities," the researchers write. Several national initiatives aimed at reducing pressure injuries have been introduced in recent years. The IPUP Survey is an important tool for hospitals and other facilities to measure and benchmark their pressure injury prevalence rates.

The article is accompanied by an online video abstract, in which the authors provide further insights into their findings, addressing WOCN members and other wound care specialists. "As Braden score has remained constant and facility-acquired prevalence has gone down, this means that your pressure ulcer prevention programs are working," comments Catherine VanGilder. "Keep up the good work!"
Click here to read "The International Pressure Ulcer Prevalence(TM) Survey: 2006-2015: A 10-Year Pressure Injury Prevalence and Demographic Trend Analysis by Care Setting."

Article: "The International Pressure Ulcer Prevalence(TM) Survey: 2006-2015: A 10-Year Pressure Injury Prevalence and Demographic Trend Analysis by Care Setting." (doi: 10.1097/WON.0000000000000292)

About Journal of WOCN

Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing is the official publication of the Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses Society (WOCN). This international journal provides continuing education for the entire scope of WOC nursing practice. Journal of WOCN is the authoritative resource devoted to the nursing care and management of patients with abdominal stomas, wounds, pressure ulcers, fistulas, vascular ulcers, and incontinence. Original, peer-reviewed articles examine these topics in hospital, home and long-term care settings.

About the Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses Society™

The Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society™ (WOCN®) a professional nursing society that supports its members by promoting educational, clinical, and research opportunities to advance the practice and guide the delivery of expert health care to individuals with wounds, ostomies, and incontinence.

About Wolters Kluwer

Wolters Kluwer is a global leader in professional information services. Professionals in the areas of legal, business, tax, accounting, finance, audit, risk, compliance and healthcare rely on Wolters Kluwer's market leading information-enabled tools and software solutions to manage their business efficiently, deliver results to their clients, and succeed in an ever more dynamic world.

Wolters Kluwer reported 2015 annual revenues of €4.2 billion. The group serves customers in over 180 countries, and employs over 19,000 people worldwide. The company is headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands. Wolters Kluwer shares are listed on Euronext Amsterdam (WKL) and are included in the AEX and Euronext 100 indices. Wolters Kluwer has a sponsored Level 1 American Depositary Receipt program. The ADRs are traded on the over-the-counter market in the U.S. (WTKWY).

Wolters Kluwer Health is a leading global provider of information and point of care solutions for the healthcare industry. For more information about our products and organization, visit, follow @WKHealth or @Wolters_Kluwer on Twitter, like us on Facebook, follow us on LinkedIn, or follow WoltersKluwerComms on YouTube.

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