Validity of the Waterlow scale and risk of pressure injury in acute care
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Aim: To assess the validity of the Waterlow screening tool in a cohort of internal medicine patients and to identify factors contributing to pressure injury. Method: A longitudinal cohort study design was used. A total of 274 patients (mean age 65.3 years) admitted through the emergency department or outpatient clinics of a tertiary hospital in Brisbane, Australia, and expected to remain in hospital for at least 3 days were screened on admission using the Waterlow screening tool. Their pressure ulcer status was monitored and recorded every second day. The main outcome measure was pressure ulcer incidence. Results: Fifteen participants (5.5%) had an existing pressure ulcer and a further 12 (4.4%) developed a pressure ulcer during their hospital stay. Sensitivity of the Waterlow scale was 0.67 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.35-0.88), specificity was 0.79 (95% CI: 0.73-0.85), positive predictive value was 0.13 (95% CI: 0.07-0.24) and negative predictive value was 0.98 (95% CI: 0.94-0.99). Conclusion: This study provides further evidence of the poor predictive validity of the Waterlow scale. A suitably powered, randomized controlled trial is urgently needed to provide definitive evidence about the usefulness of the Waterlow scale compared with other screening tools and with clinical judgment.
British Journal of Nursing
© 2010 Mark Allen Healthcare Ltd. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal website for access to the definitive, published version.
Clinical Nursing: Secondary (Acute Care)