Contribution of Individual Items to the Performance of the Norton Pressure Ulcer Prediction Scale

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To assess the specific contribution to overall scale performance of each of the five items that constitute the Norton pressure ulcer prediction scale.


A comparison of statistical models based on cross-sectional surveys of hospitalized patients.


An urban teaching hospital in Geneva, Switzerland.


2373 hospitalized patients who were free of pressure ulcers on admission.


Norton scale items measuring activity, mobility, physical condition, mental condition, and incontinence on a 4-point scale were examined as predictors of stage 1 or greater pressure ulcers.


A total of 245 new pressure ulcers occurred between admission and patient observation. After adjustment for other independent predictors in proportional hazards models, only the activity and mobility items remained associated significantly with the risk of pressure ulcer. A simplified 2-item scale was more strongly associated with pressure ulcer risk than was the classic 5-item Norton scale.


Our study suggests that the activity and mobility items of the Norton scale are sufficient to express the risk of pressure ulcers in hospitalized patients. Confirmation of this finding in prospective studies is warranted.

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