Nutritional intake in community patients with pressure ulcers

Green, S. M., Winterberg, H., Franks, P. J., Moffatt, C. J., Eberhardie, C. and McLaren, S. (1999) Nutritional intake in community patients with pressure ulcers. Journal of wound care, 8(7), pp. 325-330. ISSN (print) 0969-0700


Nutritional status has been associated with the development and healing of pressure ulcers. This study aimed to examine the dietary intake of adults who had pressure ulcers (n = 75) and a control group with no pressure ulcers (n = 100), randomly selected from those receiving treatment from community nurses. All participants were considered to be at risk of developing pressure damage. Dietary intake was assessed using a 24-hour recall method (completed by 84 participants) and a nutritional questionnaire (completed by all 175 participants). The mean age of participants was 79 +/- 6 years and 70% were women. Patients who had pressure ulcers had a lower energy intake (mean difference -185 kcal, 95% confidence interval -413 to 43) and intake of protein (mean difference -6.73 g/day, 95% CI -16.20 to 2.74) but neither factor achieved a standard level of statistical significance. However, when protein was categorised into quartiles, a significantly higher proportion of participants with low intake had pressure ulcers on chi-squared analysis (p = 0.043). More participants who had pressure ulcers required assistance with eating (odds ratio 4.55, 95% CI 1.53 to 13.54) and more had experienced recent taste changes (odds ratio 3.28, 95% CI 1.19 to 9.10). While these differences were significant, there were few major differences between those who had pressure ulcers and the control group. A number of participants in both groups had poor nutritional intake and other risk factors for malnutrition were also found. Poor nutrition is a problem for all patients receiving community nursing care, not just those with pressure ulceration. Due to acknowledged difficulties in recording nutritional intake in elderly patients, further assessment of dietary intake in those receiving community nursing services should be undertaken to support these results.

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