Several universities and private medical companies are attempting to solve a deadly problem facing nursing homes and hospitals across the United States. Bedsores occur when pressure to the skin interrupts blood flow, which over time causes skin to become starved of nutrients and oxygen. Skin that does not receive enough blood flow will begin to break down. Pressure injuries form either when the skin is under a lot of pressure for a short period of time, or when it is under a moderate amount of pressure for a long time.
Nursing home staff face the task of preventing this sort of pressure from occurring and causing bedsores. Often times, nursing homes are understaffed and this task becomes impossible.
According to an article by the Fox Illinois Team for Fox55/27, a professor at the University of Illinois has developed a sensor that would alert nursing home staff if pressure developed. The article reports that the sensor is as small as a penny.
The article states that:
It’s placed in areas where pressure would be placed.
The sensors then pick up any signs of pressure and will alert a caregiver to alleviate the pressure being placed.
This is would be a wonderful tool in the prevention of bedsores, but, again if there is a lack of staff present, this tool would be useless.
You can access the full Fox 55/27 article with video here.
Bedsore Detection Device
Another potential tool that could be used to prevent bedsores is described by Irelands RTE website. According to the article, the device was:
using technology developed for the NASA Mars lander, a company in the US has produced a wireless device which is capable of seeing bedsores up to ten days before they break through the skin.
The article reports that the wireless device is attempting to address the challenges that bedsores present:
“The challenge with the visual assessment is that we can’t see what is going on under the skin,” said Professor Zena Moore, Head of School of Nursing and Midwifery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
Early detection would be an extremely beneficial tool for nursing home staff. Another article on Indiana’s WNDU 16’s website describes the device as:
Bruin biometrics’ SEM scanner measures increases in moisture under the skin; a warning sign of inflammation and potentially, pressure ulcers.The scanner can detect cases four to ten days before ulcers appear.
Martin Burns, CEO of Bruin Biometrics, was interviewed by WNDU reporter Maureen McFadden who is an Emmy award winning journalist. In the interview he stated:
“So the damage occurring underneath the skin surface, you can’t see it, but this can.When you take a series of readings over the site that’s at risk for developing an ulcer, we can give you a calculation that says that patient has tissue that’s compromised,” said Burns.
You can read the full RTE article here.
You can read the full WNDU article here.
An article in MEDgadget by Ben Ouyang reports that there is a new wheelchair technology for preventing bedsores. The article reports that:
A team at the University of Toronto has developed the SENSIMAT, a smart cushion that can help prevent pressure sores for wheelchair users, and is crowdfunding the project via Indiegogo. The SENSIMAT, described as a “Fitbit for seating”, is a cushion embedded with multiple pressure sensors. It can be placed onto any wheelchair and actively records the forces on it as the user sits throughout the day. It sends the data to a smartphone to alert the companion app of pressure distributions, relief patterns, and can push reminders to shift position. The data is also sent wirelessly to the user’s healthcare provider, who can monitor the user’s relief regimen, and know when there are problems with pressure relief. It’s been validated at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and will continue its testing in research centers and wheelchair users.
This is yet another tool that nursing homes can use to monitor and prevent bedsores. But again, another issue is that even the best technology requires someone to monitor data, and if nursing homes are failing to employ the proper amounts of staff the technology is less than effective.
You can read the full article here.
What Do I Do If My Loved One Has Bedsores?
If you would like to discuss your loved one’s situation, injuries, or death at a nursing home, call me at 216-777-8856, comment below, or you can contact me here on a confidential form. While I handle cases throughout Ohio, I am happy to consult on extreme cases nationwide. If you are outside Ohio, I can help you find qualified counsel in your state. I am happy to help you navigate through the disturbing and sometimes complicated process of holding nursing homes accountable for not providing proper care.