Turkish Nurses' Opinions of the Braden and Waterlow Pressure Ulcer Risk Assessment Scales: A Descriptive Pilot Study

AVŞAR P., Karadag A.

OSTOMY WOUND MANAGEMENT, vol.62, no.2, pp.34-40, 2016 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 62 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.34-40


Risk evaluation scales are used as part of prevention strategies for pressure ulcers (PUs). Two of the more used scales, the Braden and Waterlow Pressure Ulcer Risk Assessment Scales (B-PURAS and W-PURAS, respectively) are used in Turkey and worldwide, and their validity in terms of sensitivity, specificity, and predictive validity have been examined in various studies. To determine nurses' opinions of B-PURAS and W-PURAS in terms of administration time, practicality, clarity, and perceived ability to encompass PU risks and accurately predict PUs, a descriptive study was conducted from October 15, 2011 to November 20, 2011 at a university hospital among nurses who volunteered to participate. Demographic information collected and assessed included age, highest degree of education completed, and practice area. Participants were trained to use both scales by researchers during a 1-hour session and asked to use them for 2 weeks in their daily practice. The nurses then completed a paper-and-pencil, 12-item questionnaire measuring agreement with general questions about PURAS with options to provide comments. In addition, the questionnaire contained 3 open-ended questions on scale preference, 1 question to rate perceived scale accuracy in predicting PUs, and the opportunity to recommend changes to the scales. Data were analyzed using SPSS 20.0. Frequencies, percentages, and Spearman's rank correlations were calculated. Eighty-three (83) registered nurses (mean age 27.46 +/- 3.73, mean nursing experience 6.53 +/- 3.25 [range 0.5-16] years) participated; 18.1% of the nurses had prior experience using such scales, and none of the clinics in the study facility had used PU risk scales previously. Most participants (71, 85.5%) had a bachelor's degree, 62 (74.7%) worked in a facility that admitted patients at high risk for developing PU, but 66 (almost 80%) saw fewer than 4 ulcers per week. Each nurse performed an average of 22 assessments during the study for a total of 1,826 assessments. Participants generally found both scales practical and appropriate; almost 75% thought the B-PURAS was acceptable for use in all clinics, compared to 51% for the W-PURAS; only 20 participants questioned the scales' accuracy in predicting PUs. While 43% preferred the B-PURAS for precision, clarity, and practicability, 25% preferred the W-PURAS because it was more comprehensive. Also, the older the nurse, the more likely the preference for the B-PURAS (P < 0.019). Some nurses (13%) suggested adding different risk factors such as serum albumin. Overall, 61.4% stated they would prefer to use the B-PURAS over the W-PURAS. Nurses' recommendations should be considered for practice and new scale development and testing, ideally in different patient populations.