Prevention of Pressure Ulcers with Active Intelligence
Although many consider pressure ulcers avoidable, they are common and can be deadly. Pressure ulcers, commonly called bed sores, affect about 2.5 million people in the United States. Anyone forced to spend time in bed, recovering from illness or due to mobility limitations is at risk of developing pressure injuries. Spinal cord injury victims are particularly vulnerable, not only because of limitations of mobility, but also because they often lack feeling in areas that are prone to bed sores. Pressure ulcers are quite serious and result in about 60,000 deaths a year, a number equal to deaths from the opioid crisis.
CMS (the Medicare payer) and other medical insurers believe that a pressure ulcer that forms while a patient is in the care of a medical facility should never occur and are categorized as “never events,” like falls or surgical site infections in a hospital. Since 2008 Medicare refuses to reimburse the cost of care for hospital acquired pressure ulcers and penalize facilities that have a high rate of hospital acquired pressure ulcers. Yet, there are more than one-million hospital acquired pressure ulcers each year.
About Pressure Ulcers
As the name implies, pressure ulcers are caused by excessive tissue pressure from contact with surface or bed mattress. Above a pressure of 32 mmHg, the blood flow to the tissue is restricted. If a patient doesn’t move or is not repositioned so that the tissue pressure is relived, a pressure injury will occur. The problem is exasperated by moisture, shear, and friction, but pressure is at the root of the injury.
Pressure redistribution is the key to prevention and treatment. That, is making sure that excessive pressure is never permitted to develop, particularly on the vulnerable boney protrusions. Two surface characteristics that influence the tissue pressure issue are:
- Immersion – How deeply patient sinks into the mattress. Increasing the immersion increases the area of the body supported, more broadly distributing the weight and reducing pressure.
- Envelopment – How well the surface conforms to the smallest contours on the body, also better distributing weight and reducing pressure.
Current solutions rely on pressure redistribution systems, which have changed little over the decades. The immersion and envelopment characteristics are not sufficient to avoid excessive pressure and shear, so patients require frequent repositioning by caregivers limit exposure time to excessive pressure on any part of the body. Typically, a patient must be repositioned every 2 hours.
LeviSense SensorCells™ and Active Intelligent Control
Active Intelligence (AI) pressure management is a novel approach from LeviSense of using a high-resolution support surface, sensor technology and processor control to dynamically optimize immersion and envelopment characteristics of the bed.
The LeviSense flotation surface is made of hundreds of individual air-filled cells, SensorCells™, which conform to the smallest contours of the body and alleviate high pressure points. Inside each cell there is a height sensor and pressure sensor, which reads and transmits pressure mapping data hundreds of times a minute. The system scans the patient’s form, position, and movements and the active intelligent control system adjusts the surface in response to the data to protect the patient from excessive pressure that causes bed sores.
To protect the heels, there is a Heel Flotation setting depressurizes the cells in the area of the feet, offering greater protection of the vulnerable heels.