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Caring for older people with pressure ulcers

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Barriers and enablers to family carers providing pressure ulcer care to older people living at home



  • Contact name

    Kathleen Mulligan

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    City, University of London

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    0 years, 11 months, 31 days

  • Research summary

    Pressure ulcers are a healthcare priority. They are usually caused by sitting or lying in one position without moving for a long time. Pressure ulcers are painful and slow to heal, can lead to hospital admission and are associated with life-threatening complications like sepsis. The NHS treats 202,000 people for pressure ulcers each year, at an annual cost of £571.98 million.

    Frail older people are at high risk of pressure ulceration. Two-thirds of pressure ulcers occur in people aged over 60-years. Older people living at home do not receive 24-hour nursing care, therefore, family carers often play an important role in pressure ulcer care, which can include inspecting for skin damage, ensuring skin is clean and dry, and encouraging the person to change position.

    Pressure ulcers cause family carers a lot of anxiety; however, few studies have explored family carers’ experiences of caring for an older person with or at high risk of pressure ulcers or assessed their pressure ulcer-related support needs.

    Our research team proposes to address this gap in the research literature. The team is made up of academics and practitioners with research expertise relating to pressure ulcers, community nursing, health behaviour change, and family carers. The aim of our study is to interview family carers for older people, to understand the barriers and enablers they experience to providing pressure ulcer care.

    The findings will provide a better understanding of what additional support would reduce carer anxiety and promote the best possible care for older people. The proposed research forms the first phase of a programme of work leading to the development of a carer-focused intervention to promote family carer wellbeing, improve clinical outcomes for older people at risk of pressure ulceration and reduce healthcare costs.

  • REC name

    Wales REC 6

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    25 Apr 2022

  • REC opinion

    Favourable Opinion