Prevalence, incidence and associated factors of pressure ulcers in home palliative care patients: A retrospective chart review

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Abstract

Background:

Terminally ill patients are at high risk of pressure ulcers, which have a negative impact on quality of life. Data about pressure ulcers’ prevalence, incidence and associated factors are largely insufficient.

Aim:

To document the point prevalence at admission and the cumulative incidence of pressure ulcers in terminally ill patients admitted to an Italian home palliative care unit, and to analyse the patients’ and caregivers’ characteristics associated with their occurrence.

Design:

Retrospective chart review.

Setting/participants:

Patients (n = 574) with a life expectancy ≤6 months admitted to a palliative home care service were included in this study.

Results:

The prevalence and incidence rates were 13.1% and 13.0%, respectively. The logistic regression models showed body mass index (p < 0.001), Braden score at risk (p < 0.001), Karnofsky Performance Scale index <30 (p < 0.001), patients’ female gender, patients’ age >70 and >1 caregiver at home as the dichotomous variables predictors of presenting with a pressure ulcer at time of admission and during home palliative care.

Conclusion:

The notable pressure ulcers’ incidence and prevalence rates suggest the need to include this issue among the main outcomes to pursue during home palliative care. The accuracy of body mass index, Braden Scale and Karnofsky Performance Scale in predicting the pressure ulcers risk is confirmed. Therefore, they appear as essential tools, in combination with nurses’ clinical judgment, for a structured approach to pressure ulcers prevention. Further research is needed to explore the home caregivers’ characteristics and attitudes associated with the occurrence of pressure ulcers and the relations between their strategies for pressure ulcer prevention and gender-related patient’s needs.

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