Practice Versus Knowledge When It Comes to Pressure Ulcer Prevention

Document Type




Format of Original

5 p.

Publication Date



Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

Source Publication

Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing

Source ISSN



Purpose: This study was completed to determine the current knowledge and documentation patterns of nursing staff in the prevention of pressure ulcers and to identify the prevalence of pressure ulcers.

Methods: This pre-post intervention study was carried out in three phases. In phase I, 67 nursing staff members completed a modified version of Bostrom's Patient Skin Integrity Survey. A Braden Scale score, the presence of actual skin breakdown, and the presence of nursing documentation were collected for each patient (n = 43). Phase II consisted of a 20-minute educational session to all staff. In phase III, 51 nursing staff completed a second questionnaire similar to that completed in phase I. Patient data (n = 49) were again collected using the same procedure as phase I.

Results: Twenty-seven staff members completed questionnaires in both phase I and phase III of the study. No statistically significant differences were found in the knowledge of the staff before or after the educational session. The number of patients with a documented plan of care showed a statistically significant difference from phase I to phase III. The number of patients with pressure ulcers or at risk for pressure ulcer development (determined by a Braden Scale score of 16 or less) did not differ statistically from phase I to phase III.

Conclusion: Knowledge about pressure ulcers in this sample of staff nurses was for the most part current and consistent with the recommendations in the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research guideline. Documentation of pressure ulcer prevention and treatment improved after the educational session. Although a significant change was noted in documentation, it is unclear whether it reflected an actual change in practice.


Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing, Vol. 24, No. 5 (September 1997): 265-269. Permalink.

Linda Piacentine was affiliated with St. Luke's Medical Center, Milwaukee at the time of publication.