Barriers and facilitators to preventing pressure ulcers in nursing home residents: A qualitative analysis informed by the Theoretical Domains Framework

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Pressure ulcers are areas of localised damage to the skin and underlying tissue; and can cause pain, immobility, infections and delay recovery, impacting on health-related quality of life. The individuals who are most at risk of developing a pressure ulcer are those who are seriously ill, elderly, have impaired mobility and/or poor nutrition; thus, many nursing home residents are at risk. OBJECTIVES
To understand the context of pressure ulcer prevention in nursing homes and to explore the potential barriers and facilitators to evidence-informed practices. METHODS
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nursing home nurses, healthcare assistants and managers, National Health Service community-based wound specialist nurses (known in the UK as tissue viability nurses) and a nurse manager in the North West of England. The interview guide was developed using the Theoretical Domains Framework to explore the barriers and facilitators to pressure ulcer prevention in nursing home residents. Data were analysed using a framework analysis and domains were identified as salient based on their frequency and the potential strength of their impact.
25 participants (nursing home: 2 managers, 7 healthcare assistants, 11 qualified nurses; National Health Service community services: 4 tissue viability nurses, 1 manager) were interviewed. Depending upon the behaviours reported and the context, the same domain could be classified as both a barrier and a facilitator. We identified seven domains as relevant in the prevention of pressure ulcers in nursing home residents mapping to four ‘barrier domains and six “facilitator” domains. The four ‘barrier’ domains were knowledge, physical skills, social influences and environmental context and resources and the six ‘facilitator’ domains were interpersonal skills, environmental context and resources, social influences, beliefs about capabilities, beliefs about consequences, social influences and social/professional role and identity). Knowledge and insight into these barriers and facilitators provide a theoretical understanding of complexities in preventing pressure ulcers with reference to the staff capabilities, opportunities and motivation related to pressure ulcer prevention. CONCLUSION
Pressure ulcer prevention in nursing home residents is complex and is influenced by several factors. The findings will inform a theory and evidence-based intervention to aid the prevention of pressure ulcers in nursing home settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-89
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Early online date4 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Evidence-informed practice
  • Nursing homes
  • Pressure ulcer prevention
  • Semi-structured interviews
  • Theoretical Domains Framework


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