H.5 Development of a device or application to prevent bed pressure ulcers
Pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores or pressure sores, are a significant healthcare concern that affect individuals who are immobile or have limited mobility. These ulcers develop when prolonged pressure on the skin and underlying tissues restricts blood flow to specific areas of the body. If left untreated, pressure ulcers can lead to severe complications, including infection, tissue necrosis, and even death.
Current technology for preventing pressure ulcers is limited in the hospital and nursing care facilities. Often these patients are laid out on pressure redistribution surfaces (similar to air mattresses) to more evenly distribute pressure across the body. They may use materials like foam, gel, air, or a combination of these to provide support, increase immersion, and minimize pressure on vulnerable areas. Automated repositioning systems exist but are infrequently used. More recently, wearable sensors and monitoring devices, as well as interface pressure mapping to detect which parts of the body are most susceptible to pressure have been developed, but are not widely integrated into healthcare practice.
There is a need for better and more accessible strategies for preventing pressure ulcers, which can be life threatening. The clinical implications of this would be broad, including promoting the safety of patients who are experiencing dementia or unable to communicate physical discomfort, prevention of sepsis and shock, and reducing the need for surgical debridement.