peterson m.j., schwab w., van oostrom j.h., gravenstein n. & caruso l.j. (2010) Effects of turning on skin-bed interface pressures in healthy adults. Journal of Advanced Nursing 66(7), 1556–1564.
Title. Effects of turning on skin-bed interface pressures in healthy adults.
Aim. This paper is a report of a study of the effects of lateral turning on skin-bed interface pressures in the sacral, trochanteric and buttock regions, and its effectiveness in unloading at-risk tissue.
Background. Minimizing skin-support surface interface pressure is important in pressure ulcer prevention, but the effect of standard patient repositioning on skin interface pressure has not been objectively established.
Methods. Data were collected from 15 healthy adults from a university-affiliated hospital. Mapped 24-inch × 24-inch (2304 half-inch sensors) interface pressure profiles were obtained in the supine position, followed by lateral turning with pillow or wedge support and subsequent head-of-bed elevation to 30°.
Results. Raising the head-of-bed to 30° in the lateral position statistically significantly increased peak interface pressures and total area ≥32 mmHg. Comparing areas ≥32 mmHg from all positions, 93% of participants had skin areas with interface pressures ≥32 mmHg throughout all positions (60 ± 54 cm2), termed ‘triple jeopardy areas’. The triple jeopardy area increased statistically significantly with wedges as compared to pillows (153 ± 99 cm2 vs. 48 ± 47 cm2, P < 0·05).
Conclusion. Standard turning by experienced intensive care unit nurses does not reliably unload all areas of high skin-bed interface pressures. These areas remain at risk for skin breakdown, and help to explain why pressure ulcers occur despite the implementation of standard preventive measures. Support materials for maintaining lateral turned positions can also influence tissue unloading and triple jeopardy areas.