Towards international consensus on patient harm: perspectives on pressure injury policy

Debra Jackson, Marie Hutchinson, Susan Barnason, William Li, Judy Mannix, Stephen Neville, Donella Piper, Tamara Power, Graeme D. Smith, Kim Usher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


AIMS: To analyse influential policies that inform practice related to pressure injury management in Australia, England, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Scotland and the United States of America.

BACKGROUND: Pressure injuries are associated with significant harm to patients, and carry economic consequences for the health sector. Internationally, preventing and managing pressure injuries is a key nursing activity and quality indicator.

EVALUATION: Comparative review and synthesis of pressure injury policies that inform practice.

KEY ISSUES: The predominant focus of policy is on patient risk assessment, compliance with documentation and pressure relief. Financial penalty for institutions is emerging as a strategy where pressure injuries occur. Comparisons of prevalence rates are hampered by the lack of consensus on data collection and reporting. To date there has been little evaluation of policy implementation and implemented policy strategies, associated guidelines remain founded upon expert opinion and low-level evidence.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING MANAGEMENT: The pressure injury policy agenda has fostered a discourse of attention to incidents, compliance and penalty (sanctions). Prevention and intervention strategies are informed by technical and biomedical interpretations of patient risk and harm, with little attention given to the nature or design of nursing work. Considerable challenges remain if this policy agenda is successfully to eliminate pressure injury as a source of patient harm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)902-914
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of nursing management
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • nursing
  • patient harm
  • patient safety
  • policy analysis
  • pressure injury
  • pressure ulcer
  • regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management


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