Smart technology and preventing pressure sores
Wheelchair community publications and the internet show devices that are marketed as helping to prevent pressure sores. The question is, are these devices themselves really doing anything to help prevent pressure sores? We look at the function and benefit of various devices to answer this question.
Apps are available that let you track your skin condition, monitor your pressure ulcers and communicate your history with your doctor. The app is designed to create a behavior change. In other words, it is designed to get the user to be more aware of the critical need for changing position or tilting or in some way try to relieve and change the pressure to the posterior. The app by itself does nothing to prevent pressure sores. It merely serves as a reminder for the user to act or change behavior. The benefit from this technology is only realized after the user takes action themselves.
Another product is a wearable sensor the patient attaches to their body. It monitors body position and sends a message to nurses to physically turn the patient, so they don’t get pressure sores. It too is a reminder device and does nothing in and of itself to prevent pressure sores. It simply reminds staff to act and reposition the patient. It requires staff to physically reposition the resident. This device brings no reduction in staff for work for staff. In fact, it may require more work for staff if turning and repositioning happens more frequently with the device. The benefit of more frequent moving is hopefully reduction in pressure sore frequency.
Tilt/recline devices are expensive options available on some wheelchairs which change the distribution of pressure from the posterior to the lower back and sacrum. These devices reduce the pressure load in one area and shift it to another area of the body.
There is even an app for a smart phone that shows position of the powerchair seat tilt, recline and leg rest positions. The app serves as a reminder to take action, such as tilt or recline the chair to try and avoid pressure sores.
The Aquila automatic cushion is a smarter, easier, more consistent and less costly means of delivering pressure relief every 60 seconds. Aquila wheelchair cushions change pressure points and ensure perfusion of skin and tissue which is key to preventing pressure sores. There is no action required by the user other than turning on the cushion. Aquila cushions work all day long invisibly delivering pressure relief eliminating the work of re-positioning. Visit Aquila at www.aquilacorp.com to learn more.