Ask the care expert ... about tracking pressure ulcer prevalence

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Sherrie Dornberger, RNC, CDONA, FACDONA, executive director, NADONA
Sherrie Dornberger, RNC, CDONA, FACDONA, executive director, NADONA

Our facility tracks facility-acquired pressure ulcers, but I would also like to report pressure ulcer prevalence among the residents. I am not clear about the terms, definitions or correct process to calculate prevalence of pressure ulcers.

The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel website, www.npuap.org, defines two approaches to conducting a Pressure Ulcer Prevalence study: * Point Prevalence describes the number of people within the defined population with a pressure ulcer at a specific time determined prior to undertaking the survey. This is a “snapshot” in time related to the facility census on a particular day. This is calculated as follows:

Point Prevalence = the number of people with a pressure ulcer multiplied by 100, divided by the number of persons in a population at a particular point in time.

* Period Prevalence is measured over a time period that is defined prior to gathering data. Many clinicians use “the average length of stay.” This is calculated as follows:

Period Prevalence =  the number of people with a pressure ulcer multiplied by 100, divided by the number of persons in a population during a particular time period.

Guidance from the NPUAP suggests the following steps when analyzing both Point and Period Prevalence:
1) First decide if you are interested in doing a prevalence study for one date or over a specified period of time.
2) Define the group to be included in the study.

This should help you track your pressure ulcer prevalence in your facility.