Pressure Ulcer Prevention: Keep it Safe, Keep it Simple!
Authors: Lyn Phillips
Abstract: Pressure Ulcer (PU) Prevention Guidelines typically recommend that vulnerable patients be physically repositioned every 2-4 hours, although the risk of caregiver injury is rarely discussed. Some guidelines, concerned with the fabric and construction of slings, continue to mandate the removal of lift equipment from beneath the patient after use and, despite a weak evidence base, this might lessen repositioning frequency and discourage safe practice. A pragmatic solution may be a flexible, breathable, quick-drying, low-friction lift sheet, designed to work in synergy with a pressure-redistributing mattress and which replaces the standard sheet. A series of standardised laboratory tests compared key performance characteristics of two sheet textiles: a 100% cotton hospital bed sheet and the Maxi Transfer™ sheet, a novel synthetic lift sheet. Results showed that when compared to the cotton sheet, the synthetic sheet was more breathable, had lower heat retention properties, superior wicking and better synergy with the therapeutic mattress. Regular repositioning, the cornerstone of PU prevention, is most likely to occur when clinicians have immediate access to lifting equipment. Replacing the standard bed sheet with an advanced textile, lifting device, may positively impact concordance with repositioning protocols, improve tissue microclimate and so improve patient outcomes and, importantly, caregiver safety.
Keywords: Pressure Ulcer, Musclo-Skeletal Disorder, Safety, Lift Equipment, Repositioning
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