Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 52 Number 3, 2015
   Pages 291 — 300

Abstract — Pressure ulcer risk of patient handling sling use

Matthew J. Peterson, PhD;1* Julie A. Kahn, MS;2 Michael V. Kerrigan, MS;3 Joseph M. Gutmann, MD;1 Jeffrey J. Harrow, MD, PhD4

1Department of Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital, Tampa, FL; 2Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL; 3U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Alexandria, VA; 4Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital, San Antonio, TX

Abstract — Patient handling slings and lifts reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries for healthcare providers. However, no published evidence exists of their safety with respect to pressure ulceration for vulnerable populations, specifically persons with spinal cord injury, nor do any studies compare slings for pressure distribution. High-resolution interface pressure mapping was used to describe and quantify risks associated with pressure ulceration due to normal forces and identify at-risk anatomical locations. We evaluated 23 patient handling slings with 4 nondisabled adults. Sling-participant interface pressures were recorded while participants lay supine on a hospital bed and while they were suspended during typical patient transfers. Sling-participant interface pressures were greatest while participants were suspended for all seated and supine slings and exceeded 200 mm Hg for all seated slings. Interface pressures were greatest along the sling seams (edges), regardless of position or sling type. The anatomical areas most at risk while participants were suspended in seated slings were the posterior upper and lower thighs. For supine slings, the perisacral area, ischial tuberosities, and greater trochanters were most at risk. The duration of time spent in slings, especially while suspended, should be limited.

Key words: decubitus ulcer, interface pressure, patient handling, patient handling sling, patient lifting, patient moving and lifting, patient repositioning, pressure sore, pressure ulcer, pressure ulcer risk, spinal cord injury.


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This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Peterson MJ, Kahn JA, Kerrigan MV, Gutmann JM, Harrow JJ. Pressure ulcer risk of patient handling sling use. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2015;52(3):291???300.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1682/JRRD.2014.06.0140
ResearcherID: Matthew J. Peterson, PhD: E-8797-2015; Julie A. Kahn, MS: E-7886-2015; Jeffrey J. Harrow, MD, PhD: E-7878-2015
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