Costing pressure ulcer care in an Irish acute care setting: A feasibility study

Publication Name

Journal of Wound Care


Objective: To test the feasibility of using a standardised data collection tool to estimate the cost of stage 2-4 pressure ulcer (PU) care within an acute care setting. Method: Data on resource use and cost were obtained through a retrospective survey of nursing and medical notes collecting cost data for individual patients who received care for stage 2-4 PUs. Results: Data for 20 patients (12 male/8 female) were analysed. The average patient age was 69 years (range: 37-95 years). Of this sample, seven patients had hospital-acquired PUs (HAPUs) and 14 patients had community-acquired PUs (CAPU) (one patient had both-in different anatomical areas). Over half of the total sample (55%; n=11) had a stage 2 PU. The average length of stay was 31.8 days (range: 5-119 days). Most of the patients (70%; n=14) had a CAPU. The average cost per patient with PU care was €878 (range: €39-2393). The mean cost for patients with a HAPU was €866 (SD: €1313) versus €911 (SD: €567) for patients with a CAPU. The majority of the cost related to equipment and staff time for treatment. Conclusion: Overall, the application of the standardised data collection tool to obtain cost data from retrospective inspection of nursing and medical notes is feasible. The cost of PU care in this sample was high, indicating that these wounds may impose a substantial burden on health systems. The costs varied greatly between patients in the sample, reflecting the complexity of PU care. Furthermore, given that costs increased with the higher PU stages, there is a potential to reduce costs by preventing the development of higher stage PUs. Larger-scale studies are required to understand the cost variation and full economic impact of PU care. Declaration of interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest.

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