There are few studies on predictive validity of methods to monitor the healing process of pressure ulcers. We evaluated whether the change of DESIGN-R (rating) score could predict subsequent healing, and determined the optimal cutoff points. In a multicenter prospective cohort study, patients were followed until wound healing or censoring. Wound severity was evaluated by the DESIGN-R tool every week, and the score change was calculated over 1-4 weeks (n = 411, 286, 224, and 170, respectively). In the multivariate analyses stratified by depth, a one-point improvement in DESIGN-R score over any period was positively associated with healing within the next 30 days independent of initial wound severity (hazard ratios over each 1-4 weeks ranging from 1.16 to 1.33 for superficial ulcers and from 1.21 to 1.27 for deep ulcers; all p < 0.05). The optimal cutoff points over 1-4 weeks were set as negative change for superficial ulcers and as positive change of ≥two points for deep ulcers. Nonhealing rate was higher for ulcers with DESIGN-R score change below the cutoff points than that aforementioned for both depths. Weekly monitoring by the DESIGN-R tool will be advantageous for evaluating prognosis of pressure ulcers independent of initial wound severity and depth.
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