AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to describe and identify risk factors associated with hospital-acquired pressure ulcers among adults in an acute care hospital compared with patients with pre-existing pressure ulcers present on admission. A further aim was to identify the preventive measures performed with both groups respectively. BACKGROUND: Pressure ulcers occur most often in older and immobile persons with severe acute illness and neurological deficits. However, few studies have addressed risk factors that are associated with hospital-acquired pressure ulcers compared with patients with pre-existing pressure ulcers. DESIGN: A point prevalence study with a cross-sectional survey design was conducted at a Swedish university hospital. METHOD: Data on 535 patients were recorded using a modified version of the protocol developed and tested by the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, including the Braden scale for risk assessment. RESULTS: The prevalence of pressure ulcers was 27% (95% confidence interval, 23-31%). Higher age and a total Braden score below 17 were significantly associated with the presence of pressure ulcers. Among individual risk factors higher age, limited activity level and friction and shear while seated or lying down were associated with hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, whereas only higher age and friction and shear were associated with the presence of pressure ulcers in the overall sample. There was an overall sparse use of preventive measures to relieve pressure. CONCLUSION: The findings of the present study revealed that pressure ulcers and the insufficient use of preventive measure to relieve pressure is still a problem in acute care settings. A continued focus must be placed on staff training in identifying patients at risk for pressure ulcers development. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Increasing the ability to identify patients who are at risk for pressure ulcer development can assist in preventing unnecessary complications and suffering as well as reduce costs.