This focused literature review aims to critically analyse the literature in relation to the factorswhich predispose patients to developing a pressure ulcer in an acute care setting. Another aimof this review involves scrutinising the literature in relation to the most validated risk assessment scale available to assess patients for their risk of pressure ulcer development.
A pressure ulcer has been described as, “localised damage to the skin caused by disruption of
the blood supply to the area, usually as a result of pressure, shear or friction or a combination
of any of these” (Dealey 2005, p.121).
(1999) notes that 95% of pressure ulcers are preventable and nursing careis believed to be a primary method of preventing pressure ulcer development. Therefore,accurate identification of at risk patients using a reliable and valid pressure ulcer risk calculator is the first step in preventing pressure ulcer development (Buttery and Phillips,2009, Flanagan, 1993, Davis, 2004, Pang and Wong, 1998). European figures suggest thatapproximately 18% of hospitalised patients have an ulcer at any time (European PressureAdvisory Panel, 2002) (EUPAP). In Ireland, two prevalence studies carried out in the acutecare setting confirmed the extent of the problem and found that prevalence lies between12.5% and 21% (Moore
2000).Not only are pressure ulcers damaging to a
patient‟s quality of life
, they also pose a hugefinancial burden to the health care system. Gethin
(2005) estimate the cost of treating
one patient with a grade 4 pressure ulcer successfully at €119,000 and that it costs