Exploring the Relationship between Risk Assessment Tools and Sub-Epidermal Moisture Measurement
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Assessment of risk in the development of pressure ulcers is an essential tool to prevent and therefore, reduce the incidence of pressure damage. Pressure damage has been shown to be preventable in 95% of cases (Chan et al., 2009). The economic and social ramifications of pressure damage are vast. They can drastically impair quality of life and cause considerable suffering for the individual. Clinicians are advised to employ the use of a validated risk assessment tool in their practice to aid the prevention of pressure damage (EPUAP, 2014). There are over forty validated risk assessment tools being used across the world at present (Kottner et al., 2010). The questionable validity of these tools has been debated in current research. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between current risk assessment tools and a new method of risk assessment, sub-epidermal moisture measurement in an effort to determine which tool will provide the clinician with the most accurate assessment of risk. A quantitative, prospective, non-experimental design was used. The study found similar issues regarding predictive validity of risk assessment tools as seen in previous research. The limitations of these tools must be emphasized and caution practiced with their use. The study found promise in the use of sub-epidermal moisture measurement however further research is needed to confirm these results. This is clinically relevant as limitations can be seen in the current methods of risk assessment. If sub-epidermal moisture measurement can perform in clinical practice as it has in research, it could be a valuable tool to aid clinicians in reducing pressure ulcer incidence.