The prevalence of pressure ulcers in community settings: an observational study

Rebecca Stevenson, Michelle Collinson, Val Henderson, Lyn Wilson, Carol Dealey, Elizabeth McGinnis, Michelle Briggs, E Andrea Nelson, Nikki Stubbs, Susanne Coleman, Jane Nixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Changes in healthcare and ageing populations have led to an increasing emphasis on the provision of healthcare in the community. Quality initiatives in healthcare have led to a focus upon pressure ulcer rates. However, published data on pressure ulcer prevalence in a community setting is currently very limited.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this cross-sectional observational study was to determine the prevalence of patients with pressure ulcers in a community setting in the United Kingdom.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional observational study.

SETTING: Two community settings in the North of England.

PARTICIPANTS: Patients in the community who were aged 18 years or older at the time of the pressure ulcer prevalence audit were included. There were no exclusion criteria and consent was not a requirement.

METHODS: Each site used a different method to collect the data as per their usual method of prevalence data collection. Site 1 assessed all patients on the community nursing caseload: patients in residential homes, rehabilitation units, specialist palliative care units and all nursing homes in the locality, whether they were known to have a pressure ulcer or not. Site 2 assessed only those on the community nursing caseload who were known to have a pressure ulcer. Site 1 collected data between 8th February and 2nd April 2010 and site 2 between 12th April and 7th May 2010.

RESULTS: In site 1, 185 patients were assessed as having a pressure ulcer Grade ≥ 1, a prevalence rate of 0.77 per 1000 adults. In Site 2 102 patients were assessed as having a Grade ≥ 1 pressure ulcer, a prevalence rate of 0.40 per 1000 adults. Removing patients in nursing homes from the calculation gives a prevalence of 0.38 per 1000 adults for site 1 and 0.39 per 1000 adults for site 2.

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides prevalence data in a community setting which can be used to assess resource allocation and staff training. This study has highlighted that differences in methodology can affect prevalence results, and this should be taken into account in future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1550-1557
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Issue number11
Early online date10 Jun 2013
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Beds
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pressure Ulcer/epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment
  • United Kingdom/epidemiology


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