ABSTRACT. BACKGROUND: A quality improvement collaborative (QIC) in the Dutch long-term care sector (nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home care) used evidence-based prevention methods to reduce the incidence and prevalence of pressure ulcers (PUs). The collaborative consisted of a core team of experts and 25 organizational project teams. Our aim was to determine its cost-effectiveness from a healthcare perspective.
METHODS: We used a non-controlled pre-post design to establish the change in incidence and prevalence of PUs in 88 patients over the course of a year. Staff indexed data and prevention methods (activities, materials). Quality of life (Qol) weights were assigned to the PU states. We assessed the costs of activities and materials in the project. A Markov model was built based on effectiveness and cost data, complemented with a probabilistic sensitivity analysis. To illustrate the results of longer term, three scenarios were created in which change in incidence and prevalence measures were (1) not sustained, (2) partially sustained, and (3) completely sustained.
RESULTS: Incidence of PUs decreased from 15% to 4.5% for the 88 patients. Prevalence decreased from 38.6% to 22.7%. Average Quality of Life (Qol) of patients increased by 0.02 Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALY)s in two years; healthcare costs increased by euro2000 per patient; the Incremental Cost-effectiveness Ratio (ICER) was between 78,500 and 131,000 depending on whether the changes in incidence and prevalence of PU were sustained.
CONCLUSIONS: During the QIC PU incidence and prevalence significantly declined. When compared to standard PU care, the QIC was probably more costly and more effective in the short run, but its long-term cost-effectiveness is questionable. The QIC can only be cost-effective if the changes in incidence and prevalence of PU are sustained.