The prevention and treatment of pressure sores

NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination
Record ID 31998009133
Authors' objectives:

The aim of this report is to assess the effectiveness of pressure-relieving interventions and risk assessment for the prevention and treatment of pressure sores.

Authors' recomendations: Pressure sores are relatively common and represent major costs to patients, their carers and to the NHS. Pressure-relief by manual repositioning of patients, special mattresses, mattress overlays and beds is used to prevent sores in high risk patients, and to treat people with existing sores. Pressure sore prevalence rates should not be used as a measure of the quality of care; incidence rates may only be used as an indicator of the quality of preventive care if the risk of developing a sore is taken into account. The evidence on the accuracy of pressure sore risk scales is confusing, and it is not clear that these scales are better than clinical judgement or that they improve outcomes. The effectiveness of different schedules of manual repositioning has not been adequately studied. The standard hospital mattress is less effective at preventing sores than some low pressure foam mattresses. Most of the equipment available for the prevention and treatment of pressure sores has not been reliably evaluated, and no 'best buy' can be recommended. Patients at raised risk of developing a pressure sore should be provided either with an evaluated low pressure foam mattress or, if at higher risk, with a large-celled alternating pressure mattress or a proven low-air loss or air-fluidised bed. However, there is insufficient research evidence on clinical- or cost-effectiveness to guide equipment choice.
Authors' methods: Systematic review
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 1995
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: England
MeSH Terms
  • Beds
  • Equipment Design
  • Wound Healing
  • Pressure Ulcer
Organisation Name: University of York
Contact Address: University of York, York, Y01 5DD, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 1904 321040, Fax: +44 1904 321041,
Contact Name:
Contact Email:
Copyright: Centre for Reviews and Dissemination
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.