The cost-effectiveness of a patient centred pressure ulcer prevention care bundle: findings from the INTACT cluster randomised trial

Jennifer A. Whitty, Elizabeth McInnes, Tracey Bucknall, Joan Webster, Brigid M. Gillespie, Merrilyn Banks, Lukman Thalib, Marianne Wallis, Jose Cumsille, Shelley Roberts, Wendy Chaboyer

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Background: Pressure ulcers are serious, avoidable, costly and common adverse outcomes of healthcare.

Objectives: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a patient-centred pressure ulcer prevention care bundle compared to standard care.

Design: Cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analyses of pressure ulcer prevention performed from the health system perspective using data collected alongside a cluster-randomised trial.

Settings: Eight tertiary hospitals in Australia.

Participants: Adult patients receiving either a patient-centred pressure ulcer prevention care bundle (n = 799) or standard care (n = 799).

Methods: Direct costs related to the intervention and preventative strategies were collected from trial data and supplemented by micro-costing data on patient turning and skin care from a 4-week substudy (n = 317). The time horizon for the economic evaluation matched the trial duration, with the endpoint being diagnosis of a new pressure ulcer, hospital discharge/transfer or 28 days; whichever occurred first. For the cost-effectiveness analysis, the primary outcome was the incremental costs of prevention per additional hospital acquired pressure ulcer case avoided, estimated using a two-stage cluster-adjusted non-parametric bootstrap method. The cost-benefit analysis estimated net monetary benefit, which considered both the costs of prevention and any difference in length of stay. All costs are reported in AU$(2015).

Results: The care bundle cost AU$144.91 (95%CI: $74.96 to $246.08) more per patient than standard care. The largest contributors to cost were clinical nurse time for repositioning and skin inspection. In the cost-effectiveness analysis, the care bundle was estimated to cost an additional $3,296 (95%CI: dominant to $144,525) per pressure ulcer avoided. This estimate is highly uncertain. Length of stay was unexpectedly higher in the care bundle group. In a cost-benefit analysis which considered length of stay, the net monetary benefit for the care bundle was estimated to be −$2,320 (95%CI −$3,900, −$1,175) per patient, suggesting the care bundle was not a cost-effective use of resources.

Conclusions: A pressure ulcer prevention care bundle consisting of multicomponent nurse training and patient education may promote best practice nursing care but may not be cost-effective in preventing hospital acquired pressure ulcer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-42
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Early online date27 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • Cluster randomised trial
  • cost-effectiveness
  • economic evaluation
  • nursing interventions
  • pressure ulcer prevention

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