Pressure injury prevention practices among medical surgical nurses in a tertiary hospital: An observational and chart audit study

Zhaoyu Li, Andrea P Marshall, Frances Lin, Yanming Ding, Wendy Chaboyer

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4 Citations (Scopus)
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Pressure injuries are frequently occurring adverse events in hospitals, negatively impacting patient safety and quality of care. Most pressure injuries are avoidable if effective prevention strategies are used. However, the extent to which various settings influence their use of prevention strategies is unknown. The aim of this study was to describe and compare pressure injury prevention strategies used by medical and surgical nurses in the Chinese context. In this observational study, we used semi-structured observations with chart audits to collect data in two medical and two surgical wards in a tertiary hospital from June to December 2020. Observations were patient-focused; any prevention practices the patient received were recorded, and a chart audit was used to identify documented prevention strategies. The frequency of each prevention strategy was reported, and differences between medical and surgical wards were analysed using independent t-test or χ2 test. A total of 577 patients (n = 294, 50.9% medical; n = 283, 49.1% surgical) were observed and their charts audited. Risk assessment was completed on admission for all patients. Repositioning was the most frequently used strategy, with about 84% (n = 486) patients being repositioned regularly. However, skin care, nutritional risk screening and the use of support surfaces were suboptimal. Patient education was not commonly observed but was documented in 75% (n = 433) of audited charts. More medical patients' skin was kept clean and hydrated, but more surgical patients received barrier creams, had a support surface and received more nutrition support and if a prone position was used, they were more likely to be turned after 2 hr and to be repositioned after sitting in a chair for an hour. Prevention strategies were more likely to be documented in surgical patients' charts. Despite pressure injury prevention guideline recommendations provided various prevention strategies for nurses to apply, the observed use of some strategies such as nutrition, skin care and support surfaces was not ideal. Nurses relied heavily on repositioning for pressure injury prevention. Most pressure injury prevention practices need improvement although surgical patients generally received better preventative care. These findings can facilitate clinicians and nurse managers when tailoring future pressure injury prevention work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1165-1179
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Wound Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • chart audit
  • nurse
  • observation
  • pressure injury/ulcer
  • prevention


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