Help to Prevent Pressure Injuries by Regulating Skin Microclimate


Pressure injury

A pressure injury (PI), also known as a pressure ulcer, can occur in any patient with acute or long-term mobility impairment.1 Although largely preventable,1 PIs are common across all clinical care settings.2,3 Pressure injuries and their complications are associated with pain,4 a significant risk of harm,5 as well as increased health care costs6,7 and resource utilisation.8,9 Reducing the incidence of PIs is a high priority for health care organisations.10

Risk factors11

Pressure exerted on a patient’s skin is a major risk factor in the development of PIs. Other extrinsic risk factors include friction, shear, and adverse skin microclimate conditions (i.e. increased skin temperature and moisture at the skin/mattress interface). Recent research suggests that these risk factors are interlinked through significant and complex relationships.
For example, poor microclimate management in immobile patients can result in elevated body temperature and consequent increase in tissue metabolic demand for oxygen and energy. In parallel, localised pressure or shear stress applied to the skin from the mattress reduces perfusion of blood and oxygen to the skin and compromises the body’s ability to meet the increased metabolic demand. When perfusion cannot meet metabolic demand, tissue ischaemia occurs, and skin becomes more vulnerable to damage or breakdown. Excessive moisture on the skin also reduces the skin’s resiliency to withstand pressure, shear stresses, and friction.

Prevention and treatment

Along with skin assessment and care protocols designed to minimise skin exposure to pressure, shear, and friction,1,12 clinical experts recognise the importance of skin microclimate management in the prevention and treatment of PIs.11,12 Regulating skin temperature can help prevent skin breakdown while controlling excess skin moisture can help maintain skin integrity.

Managing skin microclimate

Skin IQ™ is the first powered coverlet to support treatment and prevention of PIs through advanced microclimate management. Negative Airflow Technology continually draws excess moisture away from the skin/mattress interface and reduces skin temperature.13 The coverlet is compatible with almost all support surfaces.
Bench studies show that the coverlet:
(i) removes 3.8 times more moisture at the skin/mattress interface than the same mattress without the coverlet; 13 and
(ii) reduces skin temperature at the skin/mattress interface by more than 1°C in 45 minutes.14
The coverlet is also designed to reduce shear and friction while providing an effective bacterial and viral barrier.13
Download clinical support data for the Skin IQ™ range of coverlets below.

Download Skin IQ Clinical Support Data

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[1] National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Clinical Guideline 
CG179. Pressure ulcers: prevention and management.
[2] Tubaishat A, Papanikolaou P, Anthony D, et al. Pressure Ulcers Prevalence in the Acute Care Setting: A Systematic Review, 2000-2015. Clin Nurs Res. 2017 Apr 1:1054773817705541.
[3] Kaltenthaler E, Whitfield MD, Walters SJ, et al. UK, USA and Canada: how do their pressure ulcer prevalence and incidence data compare? J Wound Care. 2001;10(1):530-5.
[4] Spilsbury K, Nelson A, Cullum N, et al. Pressure ulcers and their treatment and effects on quality of life: hospital inpatient perspectives. J Adv Nurs. 2007;57(5):494-504.
[5] Lyder CH, Wang Y, Metersky M, et al. Hospital-acquired pressure ulcers: results from the national Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012;60(9):1603-8.
[6] Dealey C, Posnett J, Walker A. The cost of pressure ulcers in the United Kingdom. J Wound Care. 2012;21(6):261-2, 264, 266.
[7] Demarré L, Van Lancker A, Van Hecke A, et al. The cost of prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers: A systematic review. Int J Nurs Stud. 2015;52(11):1754-74.
[8] Theisen S, Drabik A, Stock S. Pressure ulcers in older hospitalised patients and its impact on length of stay: a retrospective observational study. J Clin Nurs. 2012;21(3-4):380-7.
[9] Bennett G, Dealey C, Posnett J. The cost of pressure ulcers in the UK. Age Ageing. 2004;33(3):230-5.
[10] The NHS Outcomes Framework 2014/15.
[11] International review. Pressure ulcer prevention: pressure, shear, friction and microclimate in context. A consensus document. London: Wounds International, 2010.
[12] National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) and European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel and Pan Pacific Pressure Injury Alliance. 2014. Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Ulcers: Quick Reference Guide.
[13] ArjoHuntleigh data on file.
[14] Reger SI, Adams TC, Maklebust JA, et al. Validation test for climate control on air-loss supports. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2001;82(5):597-603.