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Archive May 2019 XX, No. 5

Can We Predict and Prevent Pressure Injuries?

Match redistribution and relief devices with the level of susceptibility.

Susan Scott

Susan Scott


Pamela Bevelhymer, RN, BSN, CNOR
UNDER PRESSURE Pressure injuries are, distressingly, on the rise. Key to preventing them is predicting which patients are most likely to develop one.

The only hospital-acquired condition that increased in volume between 2014 and 2017? Pressure injuries, which rose by 6%. By point of comparison, surgical site infection rates were actually neutral during that period. I've been tracking pressure injuries over 3 decades, and I fear the problem is even worse than those statistics suggest.

Helpful Resources From AORN

True, it's difficult to determine how many pressure injuries occur perioperatively because they usually don't present for hours or days after surgery. Plus, your staff is likely unaware that there's been an injury — it's not something they can always ID on the spot. But even though they can't see them, your team plays a key role in pressure injury prevention.

Fortunately, easy-to-use tools can help you determine a patient's level of susceptibility before surgery. I developed the AORN-endorsed Scott Triggers (, a concurrent trigger tool that identifies at-risk individuals for perioperative pressure injuries. It evaluates 5 factors — age, serum albumin level, BMI, ASA score and estimated surgery time — to determine the patient's level of risk.

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