Predicting Pressure Ulcer Risk – conclusion

Pressure ulcers is a common condition in aged care environments and presents a challenge to effective care due to its high prevalence and associated costs. The subject of this paper was to review the science behind the use of the Braden Scale focusing on the appropriateness of the tool for use in the care provision for the older adults.

Braden scale strength lies in its simplicity and interrater reliability. Its interrater reliability has been favorably rated, at times being reported to be as high as .99. Validity of the scale however has elicited mixed findings in respect to sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value. Whereas its sensitivity has been favorably rated in most of the reviewed studies (59% and above), its specificity has been poorly rated (as low as 26%) in various studies especially those comparing it to other risk-assessment tools. Similarly, whereas its negative predictive value appears favorable, its positive predictive value that has been rated in some of the comparative studies to be 37%, appears unfavorable. Accordingly, reinforcing Braden scale with other risk assessment practices would better the process of identifying at-risk individuals to whom the preventative initiatives should be focused.

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