Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Sue Bell


Pressure ulcers were a continuing concern among the nonverbal developmentally disabled population of a state institution. The lengthy use of wheelchairs, the inability to body shift, and physical and mental impairment were attributes of the target population that have been cited in the literature as contributing to pressure ulcer. The purpose of this quasi-experimental pretest/posttest project was to evaluate the effectiveness of an education intervention for direct care staff on the prevention treatment, and eradication of pressure ulcers among patients with developmental disabilities. Orem's self-care deficit theory, particularly the emphasis on the need for nursing staff to perform self-care activities for persons who are unable to manage the activities themselves, was the theoretical basis of the project. The Iowa model of evidence-based practice provided the evidence translation direction for the project. All licensed practical nurses and healthcare technicians employed by the institution were invited to participate in the education. Participants completed a pretest on pressure ulcer prevention and management knowledge before the education was presented, and after the educational component of the project concluded. Statistical significance of the differences in pretest to posttest scores was not calculated because the sample size was small (n = 37); however, all participants achieved 100% correct answers on the posttest up from a 50% mean score among licensed practical nurses and a mean score of 30% among health care technicians. Social change was evaluated within the institution by a decrease in new pressure ulcer cases to zero in the week following the education, and a commitment from the director of nursing to provide pressure ulcer education to all new direct care employees and refresher courses for continuing employees.