Department of Physical Therapy Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

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College of Health Care Sciences - Physical Therapy Department

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to 1) identify the involvement of physical therapists in assessing pressure ulcers, 2) determine what characteristics were considered important for assessment, 3) what methods/tools are used by physical therapists to assess pressure ulcers and 4) upon what criteria they selected.

Subjects: A random sample of 300 physical therapists who are members of the geriatric section of the American Physical Therapy Association were surveyed.

Methodology: A self-designed survey was used to gather information regarding pressure ulcer assessment. Data were analyzed through the use of frequency tabulations and percentages.

Results: Seventy of 136 participants reported involvement in pressure ulcer assessment. At least half of the 70 involved in wound care believed the characteristics of depth, circulation, granulation, undermining, size, amount of necrosis, nutrition and odor were very important for pressure ulcer assessment. The primary reasons given for utilization of these methods were: easy to use, inexpensive and non-invasive.

Conclusion: Currently physical therapists report use of tools which have been modified for improvement. The most frequently used methods lack data for reliability and validity and have been determined not to be effective in monitoring healing. While further research is needed on many proposed tools, education and awareness regarding the use of these tools is needed among physical therapists.


Physical Therapy

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