Contribution of activity and skin temperature to the risk of developing pressure ulcers in nursing facility residents

Mary Pat Rapp, The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston


Purpose. The central concepts in pressure ulcer risk are exposure to external pressure caused by inactivity and tissue tolerance to pressure, a factor closely related to blood flow. Inactivity measures are effective in predicting pressure ulcer risk. The purpose of the study is to evaluate whether a physiological measure of skin blood flow improves pressure ulcer risk prediction. Skin temperature regularity and self-similarity, as proxy measures of blood flow, and not previously described, may be undefined pressure ulcer risk factors. The specific aims were to determine whether a sample of nursing facility residents at high risk of pressure ulcers classified using the Braden Scale for Pressure Sore Risk© differ from a sample of low risk residents according to (1) exposure to external pressure as measured by resident activity, (2) tissue tolerance to external pressure as measured by skin temperature, and (3) skin temperature fluctuations and recovery in response to a commonly occurring stressor, bathing and additionally whether (4) scores on the Braden Scale mobility subscale score are related to entropy and the spectral exponent. Methods. A two group observational time series design was used to describe activity and skin temperature regularity and self-similarity, calculating entropy and the spectral exponent using detrended fluctuation analysis respectively. Twenty nursing facility residents wore activity and skin temperature monitors for one week. One bathing episode was observed as a commonly occurring stressor for skin temperature. Results. Skin temperature multiscale entropy (MSE), F(1, 17) = 5.55, p = .031, the skin temperature spectral exponent, F(1, 17) = 6.19, p = .023, and the activity mean MSE, F(1, 18) = 4.52, p = .048 differentiated the risk groups. The change in skin temperature entropy during bathing was significant, t(16) = 2.55, p = .021, (95% CI, .04-.40). Multiscale entropy for skin temperature was lowest in those who developed pressure ulcers, F(1, 18) = 35.14, p < .001. Conclusions. This study supports the tissue tolerance component of the Braden and Bergstrom conceptual framework and shows differences in skin temperature multiscale entropy between pressure ulcer risk categories, pressure ulcer outcome, and during a commonly occurring stressor.

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Recommended Citation

Rapp, Mary Pat, "Contribution of activity and skin temperature to the risk of developing pressure ulcers in nursing facility residents" (2006). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3245871.