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Protecting patients – and nurses

July 2011

Published in the July 2011 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

A NEW PRODUCT not only protects patients from developing pressure ulcers, but it helps nursing staff avoid injuring themselves when caring for those patients.

The Prevalon Turn and Position System from Sage Products Inc. makes it significantly easier to turn and reposition patients. That helps prevent sacral pressure ulcers from developing in the first place.

Jessica Duvall, RN, new product development manager for Sage, says that turning a patient with the system requires 71% less effort than moving a patient on a standard draw sheet. When she first gave the system a try, she had what she calls a “wow” moment.

When nurses reposition a patient, she explains, they usually must reach over the patient and pull the person toward them. Someone standing on the other side of the bed then puts pillows underneath the patient.

The Prevalon system has a “glide” sheet made of slippery material that has handles on the side. Nurses can pull the patient toward them and then put pillow-type wedges “which are a part of the system “under the patient to offload the sacrum, which helps prevent pressure ulcers. There’s no need to reach over a patient and then pull as hard as you can.

“You’re maintaining proper body mechanics the entire time,” Ms. Duvall says. “You’re not leaning over and putting strain on your back.” Ms. Duvall says the glide sheet also protects patients at high risk of pressure ulcers. “Because it’s slippery,'” she explains, “it decreases the amount of friction and shear forces on the patient’s skin.”

The system also contains a disposable body pad that manages heat and absorbs moisture, as well as the pillow-like 30-degree wedges that nurses place under patients to redistribute pressure. The wedges offload the sacrum without putting too much pressure on the opposite hip, which can cause a skin breakdown. Unlike pillows, the wedges are designed to stay in place.

With pressure ulcers costing tens of thousands of dollars each to treat, the $150 cost of the system (per patient) is a no-brainer for hospitals. Sage also has a product designed to prevent pressure ulcers from developing on patients’ heels.

Ms. Duvall says that most hospitals are using the Prevalon system in their ICUs, where patients’ lack of mobility is a huge issue. Sage offers a protocol based on the Braden scale to identify patients who are good candidates for the system.

More information is available online at www. sageproducts.com.