Press releases


New consensus document highlights the important role of dressings in preventing pressure ulcers - one of the biggest patient safety challenges facing today’s NHS

Milton Keynes, UK, 17 November 2016 – The first-everconsensus document highlighting the important role of dressings in pressure ulcer prevention is launched in the UK today on Stop Pressure Ulcer Day 2016. Published by the World Union of Wound Healing Societies (WUWHS) and supported by an educational grant from Mölnlycke Health Care1, eleven leading global experts make the case for dressings being used alongside standard pressure ulcer preventive measures and confirm that dressings should be applied to all patients identified as being at high risk of developing pressure ulcers.

Pressure ulcers are one of the biggest patient safety challenges facing the NHS, with just under 187,000 newly acquired pressure ulcers developing in hospital each year.2  Pressure ulcers represent a major burden of sickness and reduced quality of life for patients and their care givers.3  The associated cost of treating a pressure ulcer ranges from £1,214 to £14,108 depending on its graded severity.4 Alarmingly this cost adds up, with the annual cost to the NHS of treating pressure ulcers estimated at £2.1 billion, which equates to up to 4% of the annual health care budget.3 Evidence-based preventive solutions can, however, reduce the risk of pressure ulcer occurrence and help reduce health care costs.1  As well as highlighting the patient-related and economic benefits of using polyurethane foam dressings in pressure ulcer prevention, the authors of the consensus document present a guide for clinicians on the appropriate use of dressings, and emphasise the need to consider them as a complement to standard pressure ulcer prevention.1

“In addition to a wide range of traditional interventions there has recently been a great deal of clinical evidence to support the use of dressings in at–risk patients to supplement the role of standard pressure ulcer prevention measures and further reduce incidence. The WUWHS consensus document summarises the evidence to help clinicians and health care budget holders understand the important role of dressings in pressure ulcer prevention, as well as which dressings may protect against pressure ulcer development and which patients may benefit.” Professor Keith Harding, Co-Chair, Core Expert Working Group for the WUWHS consensus document, and Dean of Clinical Innovation, Cardiff University, and Medical Director, Welsh Wound Innovation Centre, UK.

Of the 23 clinical studies reviewed in the WUWHS consensus document, the majority showed significant decreases in pressure ulcer occurrence following the use of preventive dressings.1 A substantial proportion of the scientific and clinical evidence supporting the use of prophylactic dressings relates specifically to multi-layer polyurethane foam dressings with Safetac® (Mepilex® Border Sacrum and Mepilex® Border Heel) from Mölnlycke Health Care.1

“The huge economic, clinical and social burden of pressure ulcers is well-documented. Through the implementation of evidence-based prevention strategies, most pressure ulcers are avoidable. The recently published World Union of Wound Healing Societies (WUWHS) consensus document Role of dressings in pressure ulcer development provides important insight from leading experts to help clinicians and healthcare budget holders to understand which dressings may protect against pressure ulcer development and which patients may benefit from their use. In supporting this publication with an educational grant, Mölnlycke Health Care reinforces its strategic focus on pressure ulcer prevention.” Phil Davies, Global Medical Communication Strategy Manager, Mölnlycke Health Care AB.

Dressings differ in quality and construction. It is therefore important to select preventive dressings that have been proven to be effective in high-quality scientific and clinical studies. According to the WUWHS consensus document, dressings must mitigate the effects of the four extrinsic factors that contribute to pressure ulcers: pressure, shear, friction and microclimate.1 Understanding how dressing materials and construction affect the four factors helps to establish the ideal properties of a dressing for prevention.


For further information and to view a webinar on the consensus document please visit             


Notes for editors

Mölnlycke Health Care

Mölnlycke Health Care is a provider of high-quality healthcare solutions for customers, healthcare professionals and patients worldwide. We develop and bring to market innovative wound care and surgical solutions provide value for money, supported by clinical and health economic evidence.


Mölnlycke Health Care UK




1. World Union of Wound Healing Societies. Consensus document. Role of dressings in pressure  ulcer prevention. Wounds International, 2016.

2.  NHS. Stop the pressure. Helping to prevent pressure ulcers. (Last accessed: 9 November 2016).

3.  National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel and Pan Pacific Pressure Injury Alliance. Prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers: clinical practice guideline. In: Haesler, E. (ed). Cambridge Media, 2014.


4. Dealey, C., Posnett, J., Walker, A. The cost of pressure ulcers in the United Kingdom. Journal of Wound Care 2012;21(6):261-266.