New pressure ulcers | HQCA Focus

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New pressure ulcers

Percentage of residents with a newly occurring stage 2 to 4 pressure ulcer. (see data dictionary)

Alberta Health Services, Analytics. “All 35 QIs by province/zone/facility”. (2019). [Dashboards showing RAI quality indicators, by province, zone, and site, by quarter]. AHS Tableau Reporting Platform. Retrieved from

What do you think?

  • Looking at these results over time, are there any trends?
  • Looking at these results over time and between zones, are there differences?
  • After selecting a facility, are the site results changing over time? How do the most recent quarter results compare to the provincial and zone results?
  • When comparing sites with similarities like zone, setting (e.g., urban or rural), operator type (e.g., private), and size, how are the results different? What factors could account for these differences?

Understanding "new pressure ulcers"

Pressure ulcers, also called bed sores, are an injury to the skin and underlying tissue, primarily caused by sustained pressure on the skin. Pressure ulcers can cause pain, increase the risk of infection, and decrease a resident’s quality of life. Pressure ulcers are described in four stages, and those stages are described in detail here.

Pressure ulcers can happen to anyone, however seniors have a higher risk of developing them. This is because of how tissue changes as it ages, and also because some seniors are confined to bed or may sit in a chair or wheelchair for long periods of time. Pressure ulcers can occur very quickly if the person is not assisted to change position on a regular basis.

Considerations when viewing the results:

When thinking about this quality indicator, providers and leaders can consider a number of things to better understand and improve these results. Some questions they could ask before taking action include:

  • How are sites currently monitoring risk for pressure ulcers? Are these approaches aligned with recommended practices?
  • What standards or protocols are in place to help prevent or address pressure ulcers?
  • What standards or protocols are in place to support newly admitted residents who have pressure ulcers? How do they help facilitate the healing of the pressure ulcer?

Alberta Quality Matrix for Health

The Health Quality Council of Alberta uses the Alberta Quality Matrix for Health as a way of organizing information and thinking around the complexity of the healthcare system. This measure can be used as input to assess long term care’s performance in these dimensions of quality: Acceptability, Appropriateness, Effectiveness, and Safety.