Pressure ulcers among elderly patients early in the hospital stay

Mona Baumgarten, David J. Margolis, A. Russell Localio, Sarah H. Kagan, Robert A. Lowe, Bruce Kinosian, John H. Holmes, Stephanie B. Abbuhl, William Kavesh, Althea Ruffin

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102 Scopus citations


Background. Pressure ulcers among elderly hospital patients diminish quality of life and increase the cost of hospital care. Evidence suggests that pressure ulcers can arise after only a few hours of immobility. The goals of this study were to estimate the incidence of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers in the first 2 days of the hospital stay and to identify patient characteristics associated with higher incidence. Methods. A prospective cohort study was performed between 1998 and 2001. A total of 3233 patients 65 years old or older admitted through the Emergency Department to the inpatient Medical Service at two study hospitals were examined by a research nurse on the third day of hospitalization. Pressure ulcers were ascertained using standard criteria and were classified as either preexisting, possibly hospital-acquired, or definitely hospital-acquired. Results. There were 201 patients with one or more possibly or definitely hospital-acquired pressure ulcers for a cumulative incidence of 6.2% (95% confidence interval, 5.4%-7.1%). Most of the pressure ulcers were stage 2, and the majority were in the sacral area or on the heels. In multivariable analysis, pressure ulcer incidence was significantly associated with increasing age, male gender, dry skin, urinary and fecal incontinence, difficulty turning in bed, nursing home residence prior to admission, recent hospitalization, and poor nutritional status. Conclusions. A small but significant proportion of elderly emergently admitted hospital patients acquire pressure ulcers soon after their admission. New models of care may be required to ensure that preventive interventions are provided very early in the elderly person's hospital stay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-754
Number of pages6
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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    Baumgarten, M., Margolis, D. J., Localio, A. R., Kagan, S. H., Lowe, R. A., Kinosian, B., Holmes, J. H., Abbuhl, S. B., Kavesh, W., & Ruffin, A. (2006). Pressure ulcers among elderly patients early in the hospital stay. Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 61(7), 749-754.