Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Avoidable and Unavoidable Pressure Injuries

  • Unavoidable pressure injuries may develop in people in the following circumstances:
  • Movement is restricted as a result of hemodynamic instability
  • Appropriate nutrition and fluids cannot be provided and/or maintained (e.g., person refuses to eat or to be fed or hydrated artificially)
  • A person is at end-of-life
  • Other circumstances impede or limit the optimization of preventative pressure injury care
  • Regardless of a person’s level of risk (e.g., high risk for pressure injuries), all patients should receive preventative pressure injury care (e.g., turning and repositioning, nutrition).
  • High-risk conditions do not make the development of pressure injuries inevitable. For example, not all high-risk individuals (e.g., individuals in intensive care units) will develop pressure injuries.
  • It is also important to highlight that pressure injuries develop as a result of a combination of individual and environmental influences.
  • Pressure injury avoidability is “usually determined when the outcome is known and preventive interventions are evaluated.”
Clinical Management
Assessment and Management of Pressure Injuries for the Interprofessional Team, Third Edition
Background Information