Early detection technology enables nurses to prevent pressure ulcers before they break through the skin, according to new real-world evidence, which could result in a significant reduction in the £2.1bn current cost of pressure ulcers to the NHS.
Nurses were able to cut pressure ulcer occurrence using the early detection technology know as the SEM Scanner to detect damage developing under patients’ skin, enabling earlier intervention.
Thirteen hospitals, including 10 NHS Trusts participated in the Pressure Ulcer Prevention Program (PURP), which incorporated the SEM Scanner into existing pressure ulcer prevention pathways.
Over 1,200 patients were scanned using the SEM Scanner providing the most comprehensive real-world evidence that early detection technology helps prevent pressure ulcers.
More than half of the 13 participating hospitals were able to eliminate pressure ulcers, with another three hospitals achieved reductions ranging from 11-90%. In addition, nursing leadership reported improved productivity and the release of nursing time. The participating hospitals also saw significant cost savings related to reduced length of patient stay and treatment costs.
“We reduced pressure ulcers in the ward concerned to zero during our Scanner trial – an achievement that, if we rolled out across our hospital, we estimate could save our hospital nearly £600,000 and release 1,420 hours of nurse productivity annually,” said Glenn Smith, a tissue viability and nutrition senior clinical nurse specialist/patient safety lead at St Mary’s Hospital, part of the NHS Trust on the Isle of Wight, which has a large elderly population at risk for pressure ulcers due to immobility.
Parker Moss, chief technology and transformation officer at Virgin Care, which experienced a 95% drop in the pressure ulcer rate during an evaluation of the device at Farnham Community Hospital in Surrey, where it provides services to the NHS, said: “The vast majority of nurses participating in our Scanner study said the device provided valuable clinical information.”
The SEM Scanner was conceived by Barbara Bates-Jensen, a wound care expert and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and adapted from seismology technology used on the NASA Mars landing craft, which was designed to interrogate beneath the surface of the planet. The scanner is manufactured by Bruin Biometrics.