EVALUATION STUDIES
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Reducing pressure ulcer prevalence rates in the long-term acute care setting.

Information about pressure ulcer prevalence, prevention, and optimal management strategies in the long-term acute care hospital (LTACH) setting is sparse. Although care processes in other patient care settings have been reported to affect pressure ulcer prevalence rates, the effect of such programs in the LTACH is unknown. To reduce perceived above-average pressure ulcer prevalence rates and improve care processes, a 108-bed LTACH used a failure mode and effects analysis to identify and address high-priority areas for improvement. Areas in need of improvement included a lack of 1) wound care professionals, 2) methods to consistently document prevention and wound data, and 3) an interdisciplinary wound care team approach, as well as a faulty electronic medical record. While prevalence data were collected, policies and procedures based on several published guidelines were developed and incorporated into the pressure ulcer plan of care by the newly established wound care team. Improved assessment and documentation methods, enhanced staff education, revised electronic records, wound care product reviews, and a facility-wide commitment to improved care resulted in a reduction of facility-acquired pressure ulcer prevalence from 41% at baseline to an average of 4.2% during the following 12 months as well as fewer missing electronic record data (<1% of charts had missing data). These study results suggest that staff education, better documentation, and a dedicated wound care team improves care practices and reduces pressure ulcer prevalence in the LTACH. Studies to increase knowledge about the LTACH patient population and their unique needs and risk profiles are needed.

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