Buy this Article for $10.95

Have a coupon or promotional code? Enter it here:

When you buy this you'll get access to the ePub version, a downloadable PDF, and the ability to print the full article.


hemiplegia, long-term care, Minimum Data Set, paralysis, paraplegia, pressure injury, pressure ulcer, prevalence, quadriplegia, spinal cord injury



  1. Cowan, Linda J. PhD, ARNP, CWOC
  2. Ahn, Hyochol PhD, MSN, APRN, ANP-BC
  3. Flores, Micah PhD, MS
  4. Yarrow, Joshua PhD
  5. Barks, Lelia S. PhD, ARNP
  6. Garvan, Cyndi PhD
  7. Weaver, Michael T. PhD, RN, FAAN
  8. Stechmiller, Joyce PhD, ACNP-BC, FAAN


OBJECTIVE: Scientific literature suggests pressure ulcer (PU) risk increases as immobility increases, indicating that more extensive paralysis confers a greater risk of PU. Yet the specific level of paralysis (ie, hemiplegia vs paraplegia vs quadriplegia), apart from neurodegenerative diagnoses, has never been examined in the long-term care (LTC) population. This study examined the prevalence of PU among LTC residents with different paralysis levels.


METHODS: The authors conducted a secondary data analysis of the 2012 US Minimum Data Set of LTC facilities (n = 51,664 residents). Measures included PU stage, level of paralysis, functional impairments, comorbidities, and sociodemographic factors. After removing residents with neurodegenerative disease, comatose patients, and those with hip fractures from the analysis, logistic regressions were used to examine the association of risk factors and sociodemographic characteristics with the presence of PU.


MAIN RESULTS: The sample included 7,540 patients with quadriplegia, 11,614 patients with paraplegia, and 32,510 patients with hemiplegia in LTC facilities. The PU prevalence in the sample (stages 2, 3, and 4; suspected deep-tissue injury; and unstageable PUs) was 33.9% for patients with quadriplegia, 47.4% for patients with paraplegia, and 9.6% for patients with hemiplegia.


CONCLUSIONS: Within paralysis groups (quadriplegic, paraplegic, hemiplegic), risk factors for PU differed in type and magnitude. The PU rates associated with quadriplegia and paraplegia are much higher than LTC residents without paralysis, and PU prevalence for hemiplegia is similar to the rate in LTC residents without paralysis. When the risk factor of paraplegia versus quadriplegia was isolated, PU prevalence for patients with paraplegia was significantly higher.