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International Pressure Ulcer Guidelines

Now available: the NEW 2014 International Pressure Ulcer Guidelines

By Laura Dahl Popkes RN, CWOCN, McKesson Medical-Surgical Clinical Resource Team

In September 2014, the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) announced the release of the 2014 Guideline on Prevention and Treatment for Pressure Ulcers: Clinical Practice Guideline. The NPUAP joined international colleagues on the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP) and the Pan Pacific Pressure Injury Alliance (PPPIA) in releasing the second edition of this prolific research work.

According to the NPUAP web site, "The Guideline was developed using a rigorous scientific methodology to appraise available research and make 575 evidence-based recommendations. In this second edition, a consensus voting process (GRADE) was used to assign strengths of recommendation that indicate the extent to which one can be confident that adherence to a recommendation will do more good than harm, intended to assist the health professional to prioritize interventions. We are pleased to make this guideline available (to clinicians, researchers, consumers and policy makers) through our website."

This second edition of The Guideline combines prevention and treatment recommendations in one expanded guideline. This edition includes newly added sections on emerging fields of interest including: 

  • Prevention and Treatment of Biofilms
  • Prophylactic Dressings
  • Microclimate Control
  • Medical-Device Related Pressure Ulcers
  • Prevention and Management of Heel Pressure Ulcers
  • Low Friction Fabrics

The Guideline includes updated recommendations and/or research summaries for the following pressure ulcer topics:

  • Etiology
  • Prevalence and Incidence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Skin and Tissue Assessment]
  • Preventive Skin Care
  • Prophylactic Dressings
  • Microclimate Control
  •  Fabrics and Textiles
  • Nutrition
  • Repositioning and Early Mobilization
  • Support Surfaces
  • Medical Device Related Pressure Ulcers
  • Pressure Ulcer Classification
  • Wound Assessment
  • Monitoring of Healing
  • Pain Assessment and Treatment
  • Cleansing and Debridement
  • Wound Dressings
  • Assessment and Treatment of Infection and Biofilms
  • Biophysical Agents
  • Surgery

"The Guideline also includes the NPUAP/EPUAP International Pressure Ulcer Classification system, complete with full Category/Stage descriptions and illustrative photography."

Visit www.npuap.org to purchase the complete Clinical Practice Guideline and a hard copy of the Quick Reference Guide. The Quick Reference Guide "presents a summary of the recommendations and excerpts of the supporting evidence for pressure ulcer prevention and treatment" and is available as a free download on the NPUAP web site.    

About the Author

Laura Dahl Popkes RN, CWOCN, McKesson Medical-Surgical Clinical Resource Team
Laura Dahl Popkes is a member of the WOCN, a charter member of the AAWC, and the PWA. After becoming certified in her specialty of Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nursing she consulted full time to acute care, long term care, outpatient clinics, hospice and home care. Laura has developed numerous educational programs for clinicians caring for patients in various settings and collaborated with other members of McKesson's Clinical Resource to develop educational resources for customers and caregivers.         

Unless otherwise noted, the recommendations in this document were obtained from the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP). Be advised that information contained herein is intended to serve as a useful reference for informational purposes only and is not complete clinical information. This information is intended for use only by competent healthcare professionals exercising judgment in providing care. McKesson cannot be held responsible for the continued currency of or for any errors or omissions in the information.

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