1. Shannon, Ronald J. MPH, BS
  2. Brown, Lynne MBA, BSN, RN
  3. Chakravarthy, Debashish PhD


OBJECTIVE: This article assesses the comparative prevention-effectiveness and economic implications of a Pressure Ulcer Prevention Program (PUPP) against standard practice of prevention using Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (now the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality [AHRQ]) guidelines and a mixture of commercial products.


DESIGN: The study is a randomized, controlled, prospective cohort study with an accompanying economic evaluation. The economic evaluation is performed from the perspective of the nursing and rehabilitation centers.


SETTINGS: Two nursing and rehabilitation centers under the same quality and safety support organization. Both institutions are experiencing high nursing staff turnover and incidence of pressure ulcers (PrUs).


PARTICIPANTS: 133 residents at risk of developing PrUs (EQUIP-for-Quality Risk Score Moderate to Very High [MVH]). All are Medicare-eligible residents with Minimum Data Set (MDS) 2.0 evaluations.


INTERVENTIONS: The PUPP includes a strategic product bundle and decision algorithms driven by MDS 2.0 Resident Assessment Scores to assist in reducing or preventing PrUs and incontinence-associated skin conditions. The control group utilizes a different brand and assortment of commercial skin care products, briefs, pads, and mattresses, but without use of the decision algorithms driven by MDS 2.0 Resident Assessment Scores. Pressure ulcer prevention education was done for all nurses by a nurse certified in the PUPP program at the beginning and ad libitum by trained senior nursing staff at the end of the study.


MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Comparative reduction in the incidence of nosocomial PrUs and average 6-month net cost savings per MVH-risk resident.


METHODS: Residents were assessed for PrU risk using EQUIP-for-Quality risk assessment algorithm based on data from their Minimum Data Set (MDS 2.0), then assigned to either the PUPP program or control group (standard practice following AHRQ guidelines). Residents were followed until discharge, death, development of PrU, or a maximum time period of 6 months. Direct medical costs of prevention and PrU treatment were recorded using a modified activity-based costing method. A decision model was used to estimate the net cost savings attributed to the PUPP program over a 6-month period.


RESULTS: A 67% reduction in the incidence of nosocomial pressure ulcers is attributable to the PUPP strategy over a 6-month period for MVH residents. The average 6-month cost for a MVH Medicare resident is $1928 and $1130 for the control group and PUPP group respectively. Mean difference (net cost savings per resident at risk of pressure ulceration) is $798 per resident for PUPP.


CONCLUSIONS: PUPP assisted in reducing the incidence of PrUs by 67% in a 6-month period in nursing home facilities. The estimated annual net cost savings attributed to PUPP for 300 MVH residents is estimated at approximately $240,000