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Spinal Cord Injury Pressure Ulcer Scale (SCIPUS)
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Exploratory: Spinal Cord Injury (SCI); not recommended for youth younger than 18 years of age.
Short Description of Instrument
Assesses risk for pressure ulcers among SCI patients engaged in rehabilitation.
SCI patients are assessed on 7 dimensions. Most items are dichotomously (scored 0 if absent or 1 to 2 when present). Four items are rated on a 3-point scale based on criteria described on the SCIPUS scoring sheet.
  1. Level of activity
  2. Levels of mobility
  3. Severity of SCI
    1. Complete SCI
    2. Autonomic dysreflexia or severe spasticity

  4. Urine incontinence or constantly moist
  5. Pre-existing conditions
    1. Age
    2. Tobacco use/smoking
    3. Pulmonary disease
    4. Cardiac disease or blood glucose
    5. Renal disease
    6. Impaired cognitive function

  6. Residence in a nursing home or hospital
  7. Nutrition
    1. Albumin < 3.4 or total protein,< 6.4
    2. Anemia (hematocrit < 36.0%)

Age range: Adult: 18-64 years; Elderly adult: 65+
Number of items: 15
Typically administered by a trained clinician.
Dichotomous items are given a weighted score of 0 when absent and 1 or 2 when present and non-dichotomous items are given a weighted score based on the descriptive criteria provided on the scoring sheet. For example, the presence of pulmonary disease (ICD codes 450, 460-519 & 796.0) = a score of 2. A summary score is calculated by adding the domain scores together.
Cut-off score: Cutoff > 6 indicates patient is at risk.
Strengths/Weaknesses: The SCIPUS was developed specifically for individuals with SCI in rehabilitation. There is minimal burden to administer the measure. The SCIPUS measurement scale does not fit meet the requirements of a Rasch model (i.e. not an interval scale) and consequently, the total score should be interpreted with caution.
Delparte JJ, Scovil CY, Flett HM, Higgins J, LaramÉe MT, Burns AS. Psychometric Properties of the Spinal Cord Injury Pressure Ulcer Scale (SCIPUS) for Pressure Ulcer Risk Assessment During Inpatient Rehabilitation. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2015;96(11):1980-1985.
Higgins J, LaramÉe MT, Harrison KR, Delparte JJ, Scovil CY, Flett HM, Burns AS. The Spinal Cord Injury Pressure Ulcer Scale (SCIPUS): an assessment of validity using Rasch analysis. Spinal Cord. 2019;57(10):874-880.
Krishnan S, Brick RS, Karg PE, Tzen YT, Garber SL, Sowa GA, Brienza DM. Predictive validity of the Spinal Cord Injury Pressure Ulcer Scale (SCIPUS) in acute care and inpatient rehabilitation in individuals with traumatic spinal cord injury. NeuroRehabilitation. 2016;38(4):401-409.
Mortenson WB and Miller WC. A review of scales for assessing the risk of developing a pressure ulcer in individuals with SCI. Spinal Cord 2008;46(3):168-175.
Salzberg CA, Byrne DW, Cayten CG, van Niewerburgh P, Murphy JG, Viehbeck M. A new pressure ulcer risk assessment scale for individuals with spinal cord injury. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 1996;75(2):96-104.
Salzberg CA, Byrne DW, Kabir R, van Niewerburgh P, Cayten CG. Predicting pressure ulcers during initial hospitalization for acute spinal cord injury. Wounds: A Compendium of Clinical Research and Practice 1999;11:45-57.
The SCIRE Project. (2010). Spinal Cord Injury Pressure Ulcer Scale (SCIPUS) Measure. Retrieved 12 January, 2016, from


Document last updated June 2020