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  1. Stausberg, Jurgen MD
  2. Kroger, Knut MD
  3. Maier, Irene
  4. Schneider, Helmut
  5. Niebel, Wolfgang MD
  6. for the Interdisciplinary Decubitus Project


OBJECTIVE: To compare point and period prevalence rates.


DESIGN: Descriptive, cohort, cross-sectional survey.


PARTICIPANTS: From a cohort of 25,075 cases, information on pressure ulcer status on admission was recorded for 20,283 cases. From 3237 selected cases, the pressure ulcer team made 2234 assessments.


MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Point prevalence, period prevalence, and incidence rates.


MAIN RESULTS: The cohort showed a period prevalence rate of 1.4% and an incidence rate of 0.6%. Patients with a pressure ulcer were older, were more likely to have had surgery, had longer hospital stays, and had a higher cost weight. The cross-sectional survey revealed a point prevalence rate of 5.3%. Patients within the cross-sectional survey had longer lengths of stay, were more likely to have had surgery, and presented a higher cost weight in comparison with the cohort.


CONCLUSIONS: In an unselected hospital sample one can expect a period prevalence rate of 2% and a point prevalence rate of 10%. As demonstrated by the present study, differences between the 2 prevalence measurements are mainly due to the confounding of point prevalence rates by length of stay. Length of stay determines the probability of inclusion in a cross-sectional study and should be considered in pressure ulcer trials in the future.