Pressure injuries and other dependence-related skin lesions in paediatric units

In people admitted at hospitals, the skin is exposed to different and potentially damaging agents and forces such as pressure, moisture, and friction. The skin lesions frequently develop in adults, neonates, and children. Currently, there are few epidemiological studies in the paediatric population, and most of them was focused on intensive care units and pressure injuries.

In 2017, the 5th National study on prevalence of pressure ulcers and other dependence-related skin lesions has been organised by the Chair of Avanced Studies on Wounds GNEAUPP-UJA and developed by researchers from the CuiDsalud  research group, within the research line on Pressure ulcers and chronic wounds, with the aim to establish the prevalence of pressure injuries (PI) and dependence-related skin lesions (DRSLs) in paediatric hospital units in Spain. For this purpose, a cross-sectional study was conducted in 2017. All public and private Spanish hospitals were invited to participate through epidemiological survey used to collect data for the study.

By unit type, the PI prevalence was 1.79% for general paediatrics wards and 9.39% for paediatric intensive care. Most of the PIs were category 1 or 2, and were located on the head (occipital), nose, or other areas of the face. The prevalence of moisture-associated skin damage (MASD) was 1.56%; that of combined lesions was 0.49%. There were no statistically significant differences between the general wards and intensive care units.

The prevalence of PI in paediatric hospital units in Spain was 3.3%. This value is low compared with the results for PI prevalence for other countries. But all the PIs developed after admission (hospital-adquired pressure infuries), so the study revealed that prevention of PIs within these units needs improvement. The MASD prevalence was very low; most of the lesions were due to incontinence-associated dermatitis.

Reference: Pancorbo-Hidalgo PL, Torra-Bou JE, García-Fernández FP, Soldevilla-Agreda JJ. Prevalence of pressure injuries and other dependence-related skin lesions among paediatric patients in hospitals in Spain. EWMA Journal. 2018. 19 (2): 31-39.

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