Worldwide pressure injury prevention day is Nov. 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

Join WSHA in recognizing worldwide pressure injury prevention day, Nov. 19. Pressure injuries claim the lives of over 60,000 people each year and cost the United States healthcare system over $11 billion annually. In 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it would not pay for additional costs incurred for hospital-acquired pressure ulcers. The development of pressure ulcers is an area that can be prevented using evidence-based nursing practice. Additional free pressure injury related COVID-19 resources can be found online. Utilizing current evidence-based nursing based and in support of The National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel (NPIAP), WSHA is here to support our members as they continue look to improve upon this inpatient quality measure. Questions can be directed to Amy Anderson at

The cost of individual patient care ranges from $20,900 to $151,700 per pressure ulcer. Medicare estimated in 2007 that each pressure ulcer added $43,180 in costs to a hospital stay. In addition to this, 2.5 million Americans get pressure injuries every year, with a disturbing trend of more severe pressure injuries seen over the past 5 years.

Pressure injuries are commonly seen in high-risk populations, such as the elderly and those who are very ill. Critical care patients are at high risk for developing of pressure ulcers because of the increased use of devices, hemodynamic instability, and the use of vasoactive drugs. The development of pressure ulcers or injuries can interfere with the patient’s functional recovery, may be complicated by infection and can contribute to longer hospital stays. The development of Stage 3 and 4 and unstageable pressure ulcers is currently considered by the Washington Department of Health as a Serious Reportable Event.

In addition to the increasing trend of severe pressure injuries over the past 5 years, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented hospitals with high volumes of more complex patients, which in turn increased demands on patient care staff. Thus, we have seen a rise in the pressure injury rate across Washington State. Patients in the Critical Care Unit (CCU) are at a 12-24.5 percent higher risk for pressure injury than those not in the CCU. Furthermore, those who receive norepinephrine are three-times more likely to develop a pressure injury and those who are malnourished are two-times more likely to develop a pressure injury. And, a free resource from NPIAP on Pressure Injury Prevention in Prone Positioning is available online.


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