Lifestyle categories

Braden Scale - Predicting Pressure Ulcer Risk

The Braden Scale for Predicting Pressure Ulcer Risk, is a tool that was developed in 1987 by Barbara Braden and Nancy Bergstrom. The purpose of the scale is to help health professionals assess a patient’s risk of developing a pressure ulcer. It consists of 6 items: sensory perception, moisture, activity, mobility, nutritional condition and friction/shear force. Scores can vary between 6 (severe risk) and 23 (no risk). The risk outcome can be used in our wheelchair cushion select tool.

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Sensory Perception

Ability to respond meaningfully to pressure-related discomfort.

No Impairment Responds to verbal commands. Has no sensory deficit which would limit ability to feel or voice pain or discomfort.
Slightly Limited Responds to verbal commands but cannot always communicate discomfort or the need to be turned OR has some sensory impairment which limits ability to feel pain or discomfort in 1 or 2 extremities.
Very Limited Responds only to painful stimuli. Cannot communicate discomfort except by moaning or restlessness OR has a sensory impairment which limits the ability to feel pain or discomfort over 1/2 of body.
Completely Limited Unresponsive (does not moan, flinch, or grasp) to painful stimuli, due to diminished level of consciousness or sedation. OR limited ability to feel pain over most of body surface.


Degree to which skin is exposed to moisture.

Rarely Moist Skin is usually dry; linen only requires changing at routine intervals.
Occasionally Moist Skin is occasionally moist, requiring an extra linen change approximately once a day.
Often Moist Skin is often, but not always moist. Linen must be changed at least once a shift.
Constantly Moist Skin is kept moist almost constantly by perspiration, urine, etc. Dampness is detected every time patient is moved or turned.


Degree of physical activity.

Walks Frequently Walks outside room at least twice a day and inside room at least once every two hours during waking hours.
Walks Occasionally Walks occasionally during day, but for very short distances, with or without assistance. Spends majority of each shift in bed or chair.
Chairfast Ability to walk severely limited or non-existent. Cannot bear own weight and/or must be assisted into chair or wheelchair.
Bedfast Confined to bed.


Ability to change and control body position.

No Limitations Makes major and frequent changes in position without assistance.
Slightly Limited Makes frequent though slight changes in body or extremity position independently.
Very Limited Makes occasional slight changes in body or extremity position but unable to make frequent or significant changes independently.
Completely Immobile Does not make even slight changes in body or extremity position without assistance.


Usual food intake pattern
NPO: Nothing by mouth.
TV: Intravenously.
TPN: Total parenteral nutrition.

Excellent Eats most of every meal. Never refuses a meal. Usually eats a total of 4 or more servings of meat and dairy products. Occasionally eats between meals. Does not require supplementation.
Adequate Eats over half of most meals. Eats a total of 4 servings of protein (meat, dairy products) per day. Occasionally will refuse a meal, but will usually take a supplement when offered OR is on a tube feeding or TPN regimen, which probably meets most of nutritional needs.
Probably Inadequate Rarely eats a complete meal and generally eats only about 2 of any food offered. Protein intake includes only 3 servings of meat or dairy products per day. Occasionally will take a dietary supplement OR receives less than optimum amount of liquid diet or tube feeding.
Very Poor Never eats a complete meal. Rarely eats more than 1/3 of any food offered. Eats 2 servings or less of protein (meat or dairy products) per day. Takes fluids poorly. Does not take a liquid dietary supplement OR is NPO and/or maintained on clear liquids or IV for more than 5 days.

Friction & Shear

No Apparent Problem Moves in bed and in chair independently and has sufficient muscle strength to lift up completely during move. Maintains good position in bed or chair.
Potential Problem Moves feebly or requires minimum assistance. During a move skin probably slides to some extent against sheets, chair, restraints or other devices. Maintains relatively good position in chair or bed most of the time but occasionally slides down.
Problem Requires moderate to maximum assistance in moving. Complete lifting without sliding against sheets is impossible. Frequently slides down in bed or chair, requiring frequent repositioning with maximum assistance. Spasticity, contractures or agitation leads to almost constant friction.

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