Using Statistical Process Control for Monitoring the Prevalence of Hospital-acquired Pressure Ulcers

Jan Kottner*, Ruud Halfens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Institutionally acquired pressure ulcers are used as outcome indicators to assess the quality of pressure ulcer prevention programs. Determining whether quality improvement projects that aim to decrease the proportions of institutionally acquired pressure ulcers lead to real changes in clinical practice depends on the measurement method and statistical analysis used. To examine whether nosoconnial pressure ulcer prevalence rates in hospitals in the Netherlands changed, a secondary data analysis using different statistical approaches was conducted of annual (1998-2008) nationwide nursing-sensitive health problem prevalence studies in the Netherlands. Institutions that participated regularly in all survey years were identified. Risk-adjusted nosocomial pressure ulcers prevalence rates, grade 2 to 4 (European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel system) were calculated per year and hospital. Descriptive statistics, chi-square trend tests, and P charts based on statistical process control (SPC) were applied and compared. Six of the 905 healthcare institutions participated in every survey year and 11,444 patients in these six hospitals were identified as being at risk for pressure ulcers. Prevalence rates per year ranged from 0.05 to 0.22. Chi-square trend tests revealed statistically significant downward trends in four hospitals but based on SPC methods, prevalence rates of five hospitals varied by chance only. Results of chi-square trend tests and SPC methods were not comparable, making it impossible to decide which approach is more appropriate. P charts provide more valuable information than single P values and are more helpful for monitoring institutional performance. Empirical evidence about the decrease of nosocomial pressure ulcer prevalence rates in the Netherlands is contradictory and limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-59
JournalOstomy Wound Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


  • pressure ulcer
  • prevalence
  • quality
  • statistical process control


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