Glasgow Researchers Develop Anti-Bedsore Mattress to Help Prevent Pressure Ulcer Development

Jul 24, 2015

Following a Scottish initiative to reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by pressure ulcer development, a bio-engineering firm, HCi Viocare, is working to utilize sensor technology in mattresses and wheelchair cushions.

Bedsores develop as a result of pressure in a particular area of the body that disrupts blood flow to that area of skin, depriving it of valuable nutrients and oxygen, which results in a pressure ulcer. If bedsores continue to develop and worsen they may lead to poisoning in the blood or septic shock.

How Sensor Technology May Help with Pressure Ulcer Development

Earlier this year, Viocare received praise for their development of sensor technology insoles intended to inform people with diabetes of unwanted pressure on their feet. The insoles detect unwanted pressure and send either a text message or a Twitter message to the diabetic individual wearing the insoles.

Similarly, Viocare is working on sensor technology that could work in mattresses and wheelchair cushions. Tiny electronic sensors will prompt the mattress or wheelchair cushion to shift or adjust when it senses potentially troublesome or dangerous pressure. It provides a warning to the patient or healthcare worker that will hopefully prompt them to move or shift the patient to help with pressure ulcer development.

Foreseeable Issues with this Sensor Technology

While the sensor technology may notify a healthcare worker to move a patient in order to prevent pressure ulcer development, the quality of care and staff levels in nursing homes may still lead to negligent behavior, regardless of the notifications that the sensors send. If a nursing home is understaffed, it is possible that healthcare workers may not be trained properly, or there may not be sufficient manpower to regularly rotate all of the patients.

How do Bedsores or Pressure Ulcers Develop in Nursing Homes?

Nursing home staff are required to regularly monitor their patients, including turning them from time-to-time, to protect patients from harm. Turning them every couple of hours helps avoid lack of circulation and blood flow to certain areas of the body where continued pressure prevents lack of blood flow to the soft tissue.

In most situations, the development of a Stage III or Stage IV bedsore while receiving treatment at a hospital, nursing home, or other healthcare facility, is the result of negligence. They form when a patient who requires assistance is not properly cleaned, they are left in the same body position for too long, or they become severely dehydrated or malnourished.