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Acta Vulnologica 2012 December;10(4):251-7


language: English, Italian

Comparison of two mattress overlays in the prevention of pressure ulcers

Cassino R. 1, Ippolito AM. 1, Ricci E. 2

1 Vulnera, Centro Vulnologico Italiano, Torino, Italia; 2 U.O.A. “Ferite Difficili”, Casa di Cura San Luca, Pecetto Torinese, Torino, Italia


Aim. The elderly are the most frail members of our society, the most exposed to the risk of developing pressure ulcers, and the most likely to need preventive care. With this longitudinal study we evaluated the response of a homogeneous group of elderly people to the use of two medical-quality mattress overlays with different ventilation properties. The aim was not to compare the occurrence of pressure ulcers but rather to explore how skin condition management can be improved with the use of appropriate aids.
Methods. The study population included 20 patients similar in age, comorbidities, and pressure ulcer risk. To limit the influence of external variables, the study setting was a long-term nursing facility for residents with high-dependency needs. The inclusion criteria were: age >75 years; Norton score <9; homogeneous comorbidities. The sample was divided into two groups of 10 subjects each. One group was assigned treatment with a viscoelastic polymer gel mattress overlay with shock absorbing and pressure relief properties (Akton®, Action Products) (group 1); the other group was assigned a volumetric mattress (0.9 cm thick) made of polyester monofilaments and consisting of two non-separable layers forming an air chamber (Aiartex®, Herniamesh) (group 2). The patients were assessed weekly for changes in skin condition.
Results. No changes in skin condition occurred during the first 60 days of the study, although excessive moisture around the sacral areas was noted in the majority of group 1 subjects. On follow-up examination between months 3 and 4 into the study, stage 1 ulcers were observed in 3 group 1 subjects. By the end of the study, 3 group 1 subjects but no group 2 subjects showed changes in skin condition.
Conclusion. This difference was most likely attributable to alterations in microclimate.

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