Pressure ulcer occurrence

Pressure ulcer occurrence is usually measured in one of two methods4,5

  • Prevalence – Most commonly used method; may be regarded as the number of a given population with a specific condition at a specific point in time. Note this means that it would include patients with a pressure ulcers on admission and those who have acquired one since admission.
  • Incidence – May be regarded as the number of new cases of a specific condition over a given period of time. A more complex methodology, time period usually measured in terms of weeks or months.
  • The two terms are often used in an incorrect manner. As they have very different meanings it is important that they are correctly applied.
  • Health care acquired – This refers to pressure ulcers that occur after admission to the specific health care environment. This may be a more relevant measure if assessing impact of prevention programmes.

Pressure ulcer prevalence varies according to country and is often reported to be higher in specific specialties such as critical care or elderly care.

Pressure ulcer prevalence

  • 5 European countries
    including 5947 patients6
    – 18.1% prevalence
  • USA: 651 facilities including
    85838 patients7
    – 14.8% prevalence
  • Canada: National prevalence8
    – 26%
  • Australia: Various published reports9
    – 4.5- 27%
  • China: Survey of 2913 patients10
    – 1.8% prevalence
  • South Korea:11 .44-.49% acute care incidence
    – 47.4% home care
    – 21.7-45.5% ICU