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All At-Risk Patients Are Not Created Equal: Analysis of Braden Pressure Ulcer Risk Scores to Identify Specific Risks

Tescher, Ann N.; Branda, Megan E.; Byrne, T. J. O; Naessens, James M.

Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing: May/June 2012 - Volume 39 - Issue 3 - p 282–291
doi: 10.1097/WON.0b013e3182435715

PURPOSE: To improve identification of risk factors for pressure ulcer development and enhance targeted interventions and prevention strategies.

SUBJECTS AND SETTING: The records of 12,566 adult patients hospitalized in intensive or progressive care units within Mayo Clinic were analyzed. Inclusion criteria were Braden Scale of 18 or less during the hospitalization; exclusion criteria were preexisting pressure ulcer or length of stay less than 24 hours.

METHODS: This study is a retrospective cohort analysis of electronic medical record data from January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2007. Only iatrogenic stage 2 to 4 pressure ulcers were considered as incident events. Demographic and clinical data were extracted from the medical record, including total Braden Scale score and Braden subscale scores at hospital admission, length of stay, admission to the intensive care unit at the time of hospitalization, and presence of acute respiratory failure, acute renal failure, or diabetes. Time to event was calculated based on time from admission to pressure ulcer occurrence or to hospital discharge.

RESULTS: Four hundred sixteen (3.3%) of patients developed a pressure ulcer during their hospitalizations. The Braden Scale score total by itself was found to be highly predictive of pressure ulcer development (P ≤ .0001, C = 0.71), as were all individual subscores. The friction/shear subscale had the greatest predictive power among Braden Scale scores (subscores and total score) (C = 0.83). The multivariate model after selection included 5 Braden Scale subscales, surgery, and acute respiratory failure (C = 0.91).

CONCLUSIONS: The total Braden Scale score is predictive of pressure ulcer development but does not assist the clinician to develop an individualized targeted prevention plan. In contrast, the use of subscale scores can enhance prevention programs and resource utilization by focusing care on the risk factors specific to the individual patient.

Ann N. Tescher, RN, PhD, CCRN, CCNS, CWCN, FCCM, Clinical Nurse Specialist—Surgical/Trauma Intensive Care Unit, and Researcher Engaged in Practice, Department of Nursing, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

Megan E. Branda, MS, Statistician II, Division of Health Care Policy and Research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

T. J. O Byrne, BSc, Statistical Program Analysit II, Division of Health Care Policy and Research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

James M. Naessens, ScD, Associate Professor of Health Sciences Research, College of Medicine, Division of Health Care Policy and Research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

Correspondence: Ann N. Tescher, RN, PhD, CCRN, CCNS, CWCN, FCCM, 1216 2nd St SW, Rochester, MN 55902 (

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Copyright © 2012 by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society