What is decubitus?


Decubitus, also referred to as pressure ulcers, are wounds on the skin and its underlying tissue that emerge due to enduring pressure on the skin. People who are bedridden and are unable to reposition themselves, and people who are unable to identify the need for repositioning, are at high risk of developing pressure ulcers.

Once a pressure ulcer has developed it is extremely painful for the patient and it increases the workload of caregivers considerably. Annually this costs the EU more than 15 billion euros.

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Pressure ulcers statistics

0.000.000

annually spent on taking care of pressure ulcers. [2]

0.8%

of the patients in hospital develop pressure ulcers during their stay. Another 7.5% of the people with pressure ulcers develop them in other healthcare environment. In chronic care institutions, 7.1% of people develop pressure ulcers. [1]

0%

reduction in the risk of developing pressure ulcers can be realized by monitoring people's positioning. [3]

Pressure ulcer prevention

There are three aspects that influence the development of pressure ulcers: immobility, nutrition, and skin condition.

Due to immobility a patient is not always able to change their position. In this case they depend on caregivers to help them reposition. Caregivers usually follow a repositioning schedule to ensure the pressure points on the patient's skin are regularly alternated.

It is always necessary to reposition the patient on a regular basis

There are various aids to relieve and alternate a patients pressure points, such as anti-decubitus foam- and air change mattresses. Nevertheless, even with these aids it is still necessary to reposition the patients on a regular basis.

This can be challenging in healthcare environments in which labor is demanding. Literature shows that on average only 26% - 69% of the time caregivers comply with the repositioning schedule. [3-5]

Nurses are not constantly at their patients bedside so they are not able to see when the patient last repositioned themselves. In addition, due to the hectic pace of the day, a deviation from the repositioning schedule is sometimes inevitable. 

Although it rarely seems acute, there should actually be continuous attention for the patients positioning. However considering the more visible acute situations, this is sometimes difficult to take into account. 

Monitoring the patient's posture and giving a signal to nurses when the patient needs repositioning can reduce the risk of pressure ulcers by 88%. [3]

Take the first step towards a decubitus prevention plan

[1.]  R. Halfens et al. (2015), “Landelijke Prevalentiemeting Zorgproblemen, Rapportage 2015.”

[2.] Severens et al. (2002), “The cost of illness of pressure ulcers in The Netherlands.”

[3.] Voz et al. (2011), “Efficacy of Monitoring Devices in Support of Prevention of Pressure Injuries: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.”

[4.] Pickham et al. (2018), “Effect of a wearable patient sensor on care delivery for preventing pressure injuries in acutely ill adults: A pragmatic randomized clinical trial (LS-HAPI study).”

[5.] Schutt et al. (2018), “Pilot study: Assessing the effect of continual position monitoring technology on compliance with patient turning protocols”.