Patient Care

Turning for Ulcer Reduction: A Multi-Site Randomized Clinical Trial in Nursing Homes


 

Clinical question: Is there a difference between repositioning intervals of two, three, or four hours in pressure ulcer formation in nursing home residents on high-density foam mattresses?

Background: Pressure ulcer formation in nursing home residents is a common problem. Current standard of care requires repositioning every two hours in patients who are at risk for pressure ulcer formation. Few studies have been performed to assess a difference in repositioning interval. This study was conducted to see if there is a difference in pressure ulcer formation among residents on high-density foam mattresses at moderate to high risk (according to the Braden scale).

Study design: Multi-site, randomized, clinical trial.

Setting: Twenty U.S. and seven Canadian nursing homes using high-density foam mattresses.

Synopsis: A multi-site, randomized clinical trial was executed in 20 U.S. and seven Canadian nursing homes. More than 900 residents were randomized to two-, three-, or four-hour intervals for repositioning. All participants were at either moderate (13-14) or high (10-12) risk on the Braden scale for pressure ulcer formation. All facilities used high-density foam mattresses. All participants were monitored for pressure ulcer formation on the sacrum/coccyx, heel, or trochanter for three consecutive weeks.

There was no significant difference in pressure ulcer formation between the two-, three-, or four-hour interval repositioning groups. There was no significant difference in pressure ulcer formation between the moderate or high-risk groups. Only 2% of participants developed a pressure ulcer, all stage I or II.

It is not clear if the outcomes were purely related to the repositioning intervals, as this study group had a much lower rate of pressure ulcer formation compared to national averages and previous studies. The high-density foam mattress might have improved outcomes by evenly redistributing pressure so that less frequent repositioning was required. The level of documentation may have led to earlier recognition of early stage pressure ulcers as well. This study also was limited to nursing home residents at moderate to high risk of pressure ulcer development.

Bottom line: There is no significant difference in pressure ulcer formation between repositioning intervals of two, three, or four hours among moderate and high-risk nursing home residents using high-density foam mattresses.

Citation: Bergstrom N, Horn SD, Rapp MP, Stern A, Barrett R, Watkiss M. Turning for ulcer reduction: a multisite randomized clinical trial in nursing homes. 2013;61(10):1705-1713.

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