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The Waterlow score (or Waterlow scale) gives an estimated risk for the development of a pressure sore in a given patient. The tool was developed in 1985 by clinical nurse teacher Judy Waterlow.
The following areas are assessed for each patient and assigned a point value.
- Build/weight for height
- Skin type/visual risk areas
- Sex and age
- Malnutrition Screening Tool
Additional points in special risk categories are assigned to selected patients.
- Tissue malnutrition
- Neurological deficit
- Major surgery or trauma
Potential scores range from 1 to 64. A total Waterlow score ≥10 indicates risk for pressure ulcer. A high risk score is ≥15. A very high risk exists at scores ≥20. The reverse side of the Waterlow score lists examples of preventive aids and interventions.
While packaged conveniently as a laminated card, the score has received criticism owing to its large number of scored items. This, combined with a lack of operational definitions, may reduce its reliability.
- Waterlow Score - Tool Evaluation: Melbourne Health
- "Waterlow Score Card". Retrieved July 10, 2012.
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