Hospital-acquired pressure injuries in critical and progressive care: Avoidable versus unavoidable

Sept. 27, 2019

A new study on hospital-acquired pressure injuries shows that despite prevention strategies, hospital-acquired pressure injuries (HAPIs) continue to occur, especially in critical care, raising the question whether some pressure injuries are unavoidable.

To determine the proportion of HAPIs among patients in critical and progressive care units that are unavoidable, and to identify risk factors that differentiate avoidable from unavoidable HAPIs.

This study published in AAJC – the American Journal of Critical Care used a descriptive retrospective design. Data collected included demographic information, Braden Scale scores, clinical risk factors, and preventive interventions. The Pressure Ulcer Prevention Inventory was used to categorize HAPIs as avoidable or unavoidable.

The study was authored by Joyce Pittman, PhD, ANP-BC, FNP-BC, CWOCN, Wound/Ostomy Department, Indiana University Health Academic Health Center, Indianapolis, IN, who is currently an associate professor, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL, and others.

A total of 165 patients participated in the study. Sixty-seven HAPIs (41%) were unavoidable. Participants who had congestive heart failure, were chemically sedated, had systolic blood pressure below 90 mm Hg, and received at least 1 vasopressor (were less likely to have an unavoidable HAPI. Those with bowel management devices were more likely to have an unavoidable HAPI. When the length of stay was incorporated into the regression model, they found that for each 1-day increase in stay, the odds of an unavoidable pressure injury developing increased by 4%. Participants who had a previous pressure injury were 5 times more likely to have an unavoidable HAPI.

Unavoidable HAPIs do occur; moreover, when preventive interventions are not documented and implemented appropriately, avoidable HAPIs occur.

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