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Prevalence and Characteristics of Pressure Ulcers: A One-Day Patient Population in a Finnish City

Eriksson, Elina Ph.D., R.N.; Hietanen, Helvi R.N.; Asko-Seljavaara, Sirpa M.D.

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This article discusses the prevalence and characteristics of pressure ulcers in a one-day patient population in a Finnish city. The data was collected using two questionnaires. Data analysis was based on percentage distributions; statistical significances were tested with the Chi-square test.

The measurement identified 186 patients with a total of 300 pressure ulcers. The majority (90%) of these patients were hospitalized and 10% were in outpatient care. The main causes for the development of pressure ulcers were inadequate turning and positioning and the patient's primary illness. Most of the ulcers were grade II. Only a few patients had ulcers that exposed bone. The preventive effort should extend from the nursing unit level, through the organizational level, to the level of society as a whole. It should consist of the identification of people at high risk for pressure ulcers and the provisions of quality care for these people.

ELINA ERIKSSON is a researcher in the Department of Nursing Science in the University of Turku, Finland. Her research topics include adjustment of cancer patient's relatives, decision making, and pressure ulcers. She also works as a lecturer at the Institute of Health Care Polytechnic and also at Open University.

HELVI HIETANEN is head nurse in the Department of Plastic Surgery in Helsinki University Central Hospital. She is the chairman of the Finnish Wound Care Society and a Steering Committee Member of European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel.

SIRPA ASKO-SELJAVAARA is a professor and chief in the Department of Plastic Surgery in Helsinki University Central Hospital. Scientific research is focused on pathophysiology in burns, reconstructive microsurgery, wound healing, and genetics in soft-tissue sarcoma.

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