BACKGROUND: The objectives of this study were to examine the prevalence and risk of pressure ulcers (PrUs) among hospitalized patients 65 years or older in a university hospital setting and to assess the potential for prevention and healing in that population.
METHODS: The retrospective study conducted at the general medicine departments of Ege University Hospital in Izmir, Turkey, included 209 patients (115 females, 94 males) 65 years or older, who had been admitted to the hospital for a variety of reasons between April 1, 2011, and October 1, 2011. The following tools were used to collect data: a data collection form to identify the sociodemographic and medical characteristics of the patients, the Braden Risk Assessment Scale to assess the risk of PrUs, and a form to monitor PrUs, which included the site of the PrU, the category, and the PUSH (Pressure Ulcer Scale for Healing) score, a tool for tracking changes in PrUs status applied at weekly intervals.
RESULTS: The mean patient age was 73 (6.4) years. The prevalence of PrUs was 5.8% during the hospital stay. Pressure ulcers appeared most frequently in the ischeal tuberosity area (40%), and 45.2% of all PrUs observed were category II. The comorbidities of the patients who had PrUs were as follows: rheumatoid arthritis, 40% (n = 5); acute renal failure, 24% (n = 3); multiple myeloma, 8% (n = 1); chronic renal failure, 8% (n = 1); pneumonia, 8% (n = 1); and acute lymphoblastic leukemia, 8% (n = 1).
CONCLUSIONS: Pressure ulcers are a common healthcare complication in the older adult population, with potentially severe consequences. The most important intervention that healthcare professionals can make to reduce PrUs is to determine and address risk factors.