Prevention of Pressure Ulcers: A Descriptive Study in 3 Intensive Care Units in Turkey

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PURPOSEThe aim of this descriptive study was to describe the level of preventive care provided to intensive care unit (ICU) patients at risk for development of pressure ulcers (PU).SETTING AND SUBJECTSOur study population comprised 126 nurses working at coronary ICU, cardiovascular surgery ICU, or a gastroenterology ICU of State Hospital in the Republic of Turkey. The study sample consisted of 30 nurses selected from these units using a layered sampling method.INSTRUMENTSData were collected using the following 4 forms: (1) ICU evaluation form, (2) demographic questionnaire form, (3) Braden Scale, and (4) observation form. The observation form was developed by the investigator to record PU prevention interventions made by the study nurses.METHODSNurses were observed while giving care to patients at risk according to Braden Scale scores and each action of the nurses to prevent PU was recorded. Data were collected until 90 observations (3 observations with each of 30 nurses) were completed.RESULTSNurses did not consistently engage in interventions recommended for prevention of PU. Subjects did not consistently use the risk-evaluation scale, document position changes on the appropriate form, and train auxiliary personnel about PU prevention. The most frequently fulfilled behaviors for PU prevention were avoiding hot water when cleansing the skin, helping the patient eat, avoiding placing the patient directly on a trochanter, refraining from using improper support material, and use of pressure-redistribution surfaces. The least fulfilled behaviors were (1) application of a skin barrier or protectant on moist skin and (2) application of a moisturizer to dry or compromised skin, protecting the skin during patient transfer, repositioning, and documenting prevention interventions.CONCLUSIONThis study demonstrates that critical care nurses do not consistently provide preventive care for PU.

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