Skin damage prevention in the prone ventilated critically ill patient: A comprehensive review and gap analysis (PRONEtect study)

Anika Fourie, Maarit Ahtiala, Joyce Black, Heidi Hevia, Fiona Coyer, Amit Gefen, Kim LeBlanc, Steven Smet, Kathleen Vollman, Yolanda Walsh, Dimitri Beeckman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Ventilating critically ill patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome in the prone position is a life-saving strategy, but it is associated with adverse consequences such as skin damage. Aim: To identify, review and evaluate international proning and skin care guidelines and make an inventory of commonly used equipment and training resources. Design: A gap analysis methodology was applied. Methods: 1) Comprehensive search and evaluation of proning and skin care guidelines, 2) extensive search and listing equipment and educational resources, and 3) international consultation with 11 experts (8 countries). Data sources: A variety of sources researched through July 2021 were used to identify relevant literature: (1) scientific literature databases and clinical trials registries, (2) intensive care and wound care associations, (3) healthcare organisations, (4) guideline development organisations, and (5) the Google search engine. Eleven international experts reviewed the literature and provided insights in two, 2-h online sessions. Findings: The search yielded 24 guidelines. One clinical practice guideline had high methodological quality. Twenty-five devices/equipment and sixteen teaching materials were identified and discussed with the expert panel. The gap analysis identified a lack of concise, accessible, evidence-based guidelines and educational materials of short duration. Conclusion: This analysis forms the basis for designing a competency-based education and training intervention for an interdisciplinary team caring for the skin of critically ill patients in the prone position. Impact: The results can assist the multidisciplinary team to review their current protocol for prone positioning. This is a first step in developing a training package for clinicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-477
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Tissue Viability
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Critical care
  • Pressure ulcer
  • Prone position
  • Respiratory distress syndrome
  • Skin damage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Dermatology


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