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Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Vol. 39 No. 5, September/October 2002
Pages 575-588

A structured educational model to improve pressure ulcer prevention knowledge in veterans with spinal cord dysfunction
Susan L. Garber, MA, OTR, FAOTA; Diana H. Rintala, PhD; Sally Ann Holmes, MD; Gladys P. Rodriguez, PhD; Jeffrey Friedman, MD
Houston Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
Abstract—Objective. This paper describes an educational model for increasing and retaining the knowledge of pressure ulcer prevention and management in veterans with spinal cord injury (SCI) or multiple sclerosis (MS) who have had surgical repair of a pressure ulcer. It also describes the correlates of pressure ulcer knowledge at admission and discharge. Methods. Before pressure ulcer surgery, 41 male veterans with SCI or MS were randomized to either an intervention group or a control group. A pressure ulcer prevention knowledge test was administered before surgery and at discharge from the hospital, as well as at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after discharge for the intervention group and at the end of participation for the control group. Other measures obtained at admission included health locus of control and health beliefs. Near the end of their hospital stay, participants of the intervention group received 4 hours of structured, individualized education on the prevention of pressure ulcers while participants of the control group received standard education. Results. Results indicated that participants in the intervention group gained more knowledge during hospitalization than did those in the control group. Lower admission knowledge scores were related to the “chance” dimension of locus of control, nonbelief that an ulcer would interfere “a lot” in one’s life, and nonbelief that daily skin checks make “a lot” of difference in whether one gets an ulcer. Lower discharge knowledge scores were related to older age, older age at onset, a greater number of previous pressure ulcer surgeries, and nonbelief that daily skin checks make “a lot” of difference in whether one gets an ulcer. Both groups retained most of their discharge knowledge up to 24 months postdischarge or to discontinuation because of recurrence. Conclusions. Enhanced, individualized education about pressure ulcer prevention and management was effective in improving pressure ulcer knowledge during hospitalization for surgical repair of a pressure ulcer. The effect of the intervention on recurrence of pressure ulcers will be addressed in future reports.
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