Comparing multicomponent interventions to improve skin care behaviors and prevent recurrence in veterans hospitalized for severe pressure ulcers

Marylou Guihan*, Charles H. Bombardier, Dawn M. Ehde, Lauren M. Rapacki, Thea J. Rogers, Barbara Bates-Jensen, Florian P. Thomas, Rama Parachuri, Sally A. Holmes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objective To compare a multicomponent motivational interviewing (MI)/self-management (SM) intervention with a multicomponent education intervention to improve skin-protective behaviors and prevent skin worsening in veterans with spinal cord injury (SCI) hospitalized for severe pressure ulcers (PrUs). Design Single-blinded, prospective, randomized controlled trial. Setting Six Veterans Affairs SCI centers. Participants Veterans admitted for a severe (stage III/IV) PrU were followed up to 6 months postdischarge. Intervention Telephone-based individual MI counseling plus SM skills group (SM+MI; n=71) versus an active control group of telephone-based individual educational counseling plus group education (n=72). Main Outcome Measures Self-reported skin-protective behaviors, objective skin worsening. Results Intention-to-treat analyses found nonsignificant increases in skin behaviors in the SM+MI versus education control intervention arms at 3 and 6 months. The difference in behaviors used between SM+MI and education control intervention participants was 4.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], -11.3 to 2.7) (0-3mo) and 3.0% (95% CI, -8.7 to 3.9) (0-6mo). High rates of skin worsening were observed (n=74, 51.7%), usually within 3 months postdischarge and most frequently within the month postdischarge. Skin worsening, skin-related visits, and readmissions did not differ by study arm. Study limitations are presented. Conclusions For persons with chronic SCI and severe PrUs, complicated by multiple comorbidities, a primary focus on improving patient behavior is likely insufficient to address the complex problem of PrUs in SCI. More health care systems-level changes such as collaborative care may be needed to reduce PrU recurrence, especially in this era in which many people are discharged from the hospital unhealed or with little sitting tolerance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1246-1253.e3
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Health behavior, patient compliance
  • Outcome assessment (health care)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Self care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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