Patients in the intensive care unit have the highest rate of hospital-acquired pressure injuries (HAPIs). In the United States, treatment of HAPIs costs an estimated $9.1 to $11.6 billion annually, with each occurrence adding an average of $10 708 to a patient’s total hospital cost. In addition to their financial impact, pressure injuries negatively affect patients physically, socially, and psychologically and are associated with increased morbidity and mortality.


An intensive care unit had 42 HAPIs during a single fiscal year, with 45% of them related to lack of adherence to the institution’s established evidence-based skin care protocol. This project was conducted to increase adherence to the protocol and thus reduce the incidence of HAPIs in the unit.


This quality improvement initiative featured an evidence-based multifaceted intervention to increase adherence to the skin care protocol. A review of medical records was used to determine general skin care protocol adherence and to measure the monthly incidence of HAPIs in the unit.


The number of HAPIs in the unit decreased from 33 in the preintervention period to 11 in the postintervention period, a reduction of 67%. The rate of general skin care protocol adherence improved to as high as 76% by the end of the postintervention period.


Use of an evidence-based multifaceted intervention can improve adherence to a skin care protocol in the intensive care unit, resulting in a reduced incidence of HAPIs and improved patient outcomes.

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