Proactive pressure management is about considering the risks to skin integrity before areas of damage occur.
For those most vulnerable to development of pressure damage it is essential that you consider ensuring systems, routines and equipment such as an Invacare mattress are used to minimise that risk.
What is the result of not proactively managing pressure?
The result of not proactively managing pressure for someone at risk is the development of a pressure ulcer (also known as a “bed sore or “pressure sore”). They develop when high levels of pressure are applied to an area of skin for a short time or when lower levels of pressure are applied over a longer period.
Who is at risk?
NICE guidelines ‘Pressure Ulcers: Prevention and management’ state that everyone at some time is likely to be at risk of pressure damage but that a formal risk assessment should be conducted for those:
- Being admitted into secondary or 24 hour care
- Being admitted to hospital and having a risk factor including but not exclusively:
- Significantly limited mobility
- Significant loss of sensation
- Previous or current pressure ulcer
- A nutritional deficiency (malnourished or dehydrated)
- Inability to self-reposition
- Significant cognitive impairment
What does ‘at risk’ mean?
Adults, children, infants and young people considered to be at risk of developing a pressure ulcer are those who, after assessment using clinical judgement and/or a validated risk assessment tool (such as Braden scale), are considered to be at risk of developing a pressure ulcer.They will be individuals who have factors which make them vulnerable to tissue damage. For example: have reduced mobility
So who is considered ‘High Risk’?
Those considered high risk tend to have multiple risk factors or comorbidities, for example, have significantly limited mobility and a nutritional deficiency.
How will an Invacare mattress proactively reduce risk?
This Invacare mattress looks and feels like a comfortable foam mattress, similar to those used at home. It is recognisable as a healthcare mattress only by the familiar blue colour of the cover.
The double layer of high specification foam allows the top surface to provide excellent pressure redistributing properties along with a high level of comfort and support, whilst the base of the mattress uniquely separates to conform to the bedframe, helping to reduce shear forces in vulnerable areas when the bed is profiled.
The Softform Premier can come as ‘Maxiglide’ or ‘SRT’ (Strikethrough resistant technology ©). The former provides significantly reduced shear and friction, particularly when used on a profiling bed. The latter provides the same exceptional level of pressure care but the cover has been designed to manage the clinical impact in relation to pressure care and infection control; designed for environments where use and cleaning is more intense such as health care environments.
The reason that the Softform Premier Invacare mattress is a good example of proactive pressure management is that it can be used by anyone at risk, with no impact on comfort or environment. It can be used on any bed and is also available as an overlay (be careful that an increase in height does not impact on the independence of a bed transfer) meaning that you do not feel as though you are creating a healthcare environment at home.
Other Invacare mattresses such as Softform Premier Active provide higher levels of pressure management using a combination of foam and dynamic air-filled cells but with the same non-medical feel and focus on comfort.
Each of these mattresses could be used by anyone at any time without additional specialist equipment needs. Their use proactively will significantly reduce the risk of developing pressure areas and suffering the significant impacts on health, well-being, independent functioning and comfort that this brings.
Author: A. Ferry