Risk assessment tools for the prevention of pressure ulcers.Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2019; 1:CD006471CD
Use of pressure ulcer risk assessment tools or scales is a component of the assessment process used to identify individuals at risk of developing a pressure ulcer. Use of a risk assessment tool is recommended by many international pressure ulcer prevention guidelines, however it is not known whether using a risk assessment tool makes a difference to patient outcomes. We conducted a review to provide a summary of the evidence pertaining to pressure ulcer risk assessment in clinical practice, and this is the third update of this review.
To assess whether using structured and systematic pressure ulcer risk assessment tools, in any healthcare setting, reduces the incidence of pressure ulcers.
In February 2018 we searched the Cochrane Wounds Specialised Register; the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL); Ovid MEDLINE (including In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations); Ovid Embase; and EBSCO CINAHL Plus. We also searched clinical trials registries for ongoing and unpublished studies, and scanned reference lists of relevant included studies as well as reviews, meta-analyses and health technology reports to identify additional studies. There were no restrictions with respect to language, date of publication or study setting.
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the use of structured and systematic pressure ulcer risk assessment tools with no structured pressure ulcer risk assessment, or with unaided clinical judgement, or RCTs comparing the use of different structured pressure ulcer risk assessment tools.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Two review authors independently performed study selection, data extraction, 'Risk of bias' assessment and GRADE assessment of the certainty of evidence.
We included two studies in this review (1,487 participants). We identified no new trials for this latest update.Both studies were undertaken in acute-care hospitals. In one study, patients were eligible if they had a Braden score of 18 or less. In the second study all admitted patients were eligible for inclusion, once they were expected to have a hospital stay of more than three days and they had been in hospital for no more than 24 hours before baseline assessment took place. In the first study, most of the participants were medical patients; no information on age or gender distribution was provided. In the second study, 50.3% (619) of the participants were male, with a mean age of 62.6 years (standard deviation (SD): 19.3), and 15.4% (190) were admitted to oncology wards.The two included studies were three-armed studies. In the first study the three groups were: Braden risk assessment tool and training (n = 74), clinical judgement and training (n = 76) and clinical judgement alone (n = 106); follow-up was eight weeks. In the second study the three groups were: Waterlow risk assessment tool (n = 411), clinical judgement (n = 410) and Ramstadius risk assessment tool (n = 410); follow-up was four days. Both studies reported the primary outcome of pressure ulcer incidence and one study also reported the secondary outcome, severity of new pressure ulcers.We are uncertain whether use of the Braden risk assessment tool and training makes any difference to pressure ulcer incidence, compared to risk assessment using clinical judgement and training (risk ratio (RR) 0.97, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.53 to 1.77; 150 participants), or compared to risk assessment using clinical judgement alone (RR 1.43, 95% CI 0.77 to 2.68; 180 participants). We assessed the certainty of the evidence as very low (downgraded twice for study limitations and twice for imprecision).Risk assessment using the Waterlow tool may make little or no difference to pressure ulcer incidence, or to pressure ulcer severity, when compared to risk assessment using clinical judgement (pressure ulcers of all stages: RR 1.10, 95% CI 0.68 to 1.81; 821 participants; stage 1 pressure ulcers: RR 1.05, 95% CI 0.58 to 1.90; 821 participants; stage 2 pressure ulcers: RR 1.25, 95% CI 0.50 to 3.13; 821 participants), or risk assessment using the Ramstadius tool (pressure ulcers of all stages: RR 1.41, 95% CI 0.83 to 2.39; 821 participants; stage 1 pressure ulcers: RR 1.16, 95% CI 0.63 to 2.15; 821 participants; stage 2 pressure ulcers: RR 2.49, 95% CI 0.79 to 7.89; 821 participants). Similarily, risk assessment using the Ramstadius tool may make little or no difference to pressure ulcer incidence, or to pressure ulcer severity, when compared to risk assessment using clinical judgement (pressure ulcers of all stages: RR 0.79, 95% CI 0.46 to 1.35; 820 participants; stage 1 pressure ulcers: RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.48 to 1.68; 820 participants; stage 2 pressure ulcers: RR 0.50, 95% CI 0.15 to 1.65; 820 participants). We assessed the certainty of the evidence as low (downgraded once for study limitations and once for imprecision).The studies did not report the secondary outcomes of time to ulcer development, or pressure ulcer prevalence.