The Waterlow score permits patients to be classified according to their risk of developing a pressure sore (1).
The categories of risk factors are listed below:
- weight for height
- skin condition
- sex and age
- special risks:
- tissue condition and perfusion
- neurological dysfunction
- major surgery or trauma
The score in each section is summated to give the overall score which indicates the relative risk:
- 0-9 - low risk
- 10-14 - at risk
- 15-19 - high risk
- 20+ - very high risk
A systematic review found that the Waterlow score offers a high sensitivity score (82.4%), but low specificity (27.4%), in the risk assessment of pressure ulcers (2).
- Edwards M. The levels of reliability and validity of the Waterlow pressure sore risk calculator. Journal of Wound Care 1995;4( 8): 373– 378.
- Pancorbo-Hidalgo PL et al. Risk assessment scales for pressure ulcer prevention: a systematic review. J Adv Nurs. 2006 Apr;54(1):94-110.
Last reviewed 01/2018