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WOCN Society Position Paper

Avoidable Versus Unavoidable Pressure Ulcers/Injuries

Schmitt, Shawneen; Andries, Marti K.; Ashmore, Patti M.; Brunette, Glenda; Judge, Kathleen; Bonham, Phyllis A.

Journal of Wound Ostomy & Continence Nursing: September/October 2017 - Volume 44 - Issue 5 - p 458–468
doi: 10.1097/WON.0000000000000361
Wound Care

The issue of whether pressure injuries are avoidable or preventable has been and continues to be an issue of great debate and discussion for many years, and it has significant legal and regulatory implications related to prevention of wounds due to pressure. The following position paper outlines the position of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN) on avoidable versus unavoidable pressure injuries. It includes the following information: statement of position, purpose/rationale for the position, definitions of avoidable versus unavoidable pressure injuries, alternative definitions, historical overview, supportive statements from expert opinion and research in the literature, and recommendations for research.

Shawneen Schmitt, MSN, MS, RN, CWOCN, CFCN, FACCWS, Froedtert Health—CHD—Community Memorial Hospital, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.

Marti K. Andries, MSN, ANP-BC, FNP-BC, CWCN-AP, Central Control, Inc, Pineville, Louisiana.

Patti M. Ashmore, BSN, RN, CWOCN, Wound, Ostomy, Continence Care Nurse Consultant and Educator, Evans, Georgia.

Glenda Brunette, MSN, RN, CWON, Wound & Ostomy Nurse, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina.

Kathleen Judge, MSN, RN, APN-C, NP-C, NEA-BC, ACNS-BC, CWON-AP, CCCN, Virtua Health, Voorhees, New Jersey.

Phyllis A. Bonham, PhD, MSN, RN, CWOCN, DPNAP, FAAN, Professor Emerita, Medical University of South Carolina, College of Nursing, Charleston, South Carolina.

Correspondence: Phyllis A. Bonham, PhD, MSN, RN, CWOCN, DPNAP, FAAN, 3247 Seaborn Drive, Mt. Pleasant, SC, 29466 (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2017 by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society.