• Led by Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with Plymouth University, the University of Southampton, and Cedar, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
  • To be implemented in Devon and Hampshire with patients in care homes and their own homes, and screening by district nurses in patients’ own homes and residential homes in Cornwall.
  • Aims to alleviate discomfort and reduce pressure damage in people at high risk of developing pressure ulcers by introducing monitoring and pressure adjustment using mattress and chair sensors.

Approximately 500,000 people in the UK will develop at least one pressure ulcer in any given year. Pressure ulcers usually affect people with an underlying health condition, who often have high levels of frailty. Many pressure ulcers develop when people are in their own homes, or in a nursing or residential home. 

Research into preventing pressure ulcers has mostly focused on the hospital setting, rather than in community settings where highly dependent patients may only be seen twice a day by a carer.

A previous Health Foundation project found that many of the chairs and mattresses currently used are not fit for purpose for use in the community with patients who are quite immobile and who do not change position much. It also found that technology can achieve good clinical outcomes, with 80% healing or healed pressure ulcers, reduced number of unavoidable pressure injuries and reduced number of truly non-concordant patients and medical device related pressure injuries.

This project will roll out use of mattress and chair sensors with patients in their homes to help them adjust their positions and reduce discomfort and pressure damage. 

Mattress and chair sensors continuously measure and record the patient’s body surface pressures. A computer displays the interface pressures in real time and visually identifies the areas of the body under sustained pressure. This helps the patient or carer to better understand the positions that are likely to reduce the risk of pressure ulcers.

Patients who are at high risk of developing pressure ulcers due to their limited mobility, but who are in their own homes or care homes, will be recruited to the project. It is estimated that around 160 patients will be given access to the intervention during the two-year project. 

Further reading

Innovating for Improvement project: Improving pressure damage detection in the community using continuous pressure monitoring

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