HOVERTECH International

Timely Repositioning After Sliding Down in Bed is Critical to Pressure Injury Prevention

By Isabelle Werkheiser, VP of Marketing & Business Development, HoverTech International

Head of bed (HOB) elevation is generally indicated to provide comfort to the patient and reduce the risk of aspiration. The challenge for patient care is that the HOB elevation creates gravity forces causing the patient to slide down in bed.
As this occurs, the total contact area of the patient decreases, resulting in increases in pressure most notably in the sacral area and heels.
A study comparing pressure distribution with four different positions in bed was conducted at Weber State University. The study concluded the following as the patient slides down in bed.

  1. “Patients’ weight shifts causing their Total Contact Area with the surface to decrease
  2. A decrease in Total Contact Area results in an increase in pressures, peak pressures and peak pressure indices in the sacral area and heels
  3. As the patient’s feet contact the footboard, their knees bend resulting in significant pressure increase on their heels
  4. As the patient’s knees bend, their body rotates onto their side, increasing pressure in their trochanter area
  5. It is highly likely that the above phenomena will contribute to a higher incidence of pressure ulcer development”1

Reducing sliding and frequent boosting, while reducing friction and shear forces are the ideal patient care goals. One solution is to use an air-assisted transfer device that can be left under the patient for all-day care. When boosting with air-assisted friction-reducing devices (FRDs), the patient does not have to be lifted.  Rather, they are boosted on a cushion of air that reduces both friction and shear forces on the patient’s skin as well as the pull force for the caregiver.

REFERENCE: 1. Hermans, M. E., & Call, E. (2014). Timely Repositioning After Sliding Down in Bed is Critical to Pressure Injury Prevention. Retrieved from http://morelcompany.com/media/White-Paper-Benefits-of-Timely-and-Frequent-Repositioning-Weber-State-Study.pdf





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