Hospital Care

Reducing pressure injuries on the head

Pressure injuries, sometimes known as ‘bed sores’, can be an unfortunate complication to arise from both long and short term hospital stays, increasing the risk of infection and duration of hospital stay for many patients.

Pressure injuries commonly occur when a patient is unable to move around freely and points of the body are then put under pressure, generally a result of lying down. Common injury sites are the back of the head, shoulder blades, elbows, lower back and heels, the parts of the body that come into most contact with a patient's bed.

To try and combat the prevalence of these painful sores on the head, commercial and custom made products-which are thought to assist with supporting the head-are often used to assist in redistributing the pressure experienced when lying down. However, there is little evidence-based support for these products. The majority of these are used based on clinicians' experience or anecdotal evidence and as such, this may or may not be providing the best outcomes for patients.

Researchers supported by The Common Good are undertaking a project that will assess the pressure redistribution properties of both commercial and custom made products with the intensive care unit of The Prince Charles Hospital.

The study hopes to increase the knowledge and understanding of the benefits these products can provide and help to establish clear evidence based standards and guidelines for patient care in the prevention of pressure injuries.

A reduction in pressure injuries will help to improve patient outcomes by reducing the risk of infection, reducing recovery times and prevent prolonged hospital stays – opening up hospital beds and treatment for more patients in need.

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