Research-based practice: some problems illustrated by the discussion of evidence concerning the use of a pressure-relieving device in nursing and midwifery


Sarah Church, Research Midwife, Central Delivery Suite, Sixth Floor, St Mary's Hospital. Hathersage Road, Manchester M13 OJH, England.


This paper investigates the evidence presented in the literature Concerning the use of ring cushions in nursing and midwifery practice, as a case study of the relationship between research-based knowledge and practice. It explains the origins of the claims that these aids cause pressure sores, urinary tract infection and expose postpartum mothers to the risk of thrombosis. It demonstrates that the empirical evidence on which these claims are based is very slight and that re-interpretation of the evidence by successive authors has raised its status considerably. Practical steps to avoid this type of occurrence are suggested.