COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
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Effectiveness of two cushions in the prevention of heel pressure ulcers.

AIM: The aim of the study was to determine the effectiveness of two cushions in the prevention of heel pressure ulcers in a geriatric population.

BACKGROUND: Heel pressure ulcers are a major problem in nursing practice. Several measures for the prevention of heel pressure ulcers are discussed in the literature, but the effectiveness of the different types of cushions in the prevention of heel pressure ulcers is poorly studied.

METHODS: In this comparative study, two different cushions to prevent heel pressure ulcers were investigated: a wedge-shaped, bedwide, viscoelastic foam cushion and an ordinary pillow. All patients were lying on a viscoelastic foam mattress and were repositioned every 4 hours.

SAMPLE: One hundred sixty-two patients over 75 years of age.

RESULTS: The incidence of heel pressure ulcers grades 2-4 was 1.9% in the wedge-shaped cushion group and was 10.2% in the pillow group. The patients in the wedge-shaped cushion group developed significantly fewer heel pressure ulcers (p = 0.03). Patients with a wedge-shaped cushion under the lower legs had an 85% less chance in developing a heel pressure ulcer (p = 0.02). The median time to develop a heel pressure ulcer was 4.0 days (IQR = 3.0-5.0) in the wedge-shaped cushion group and 3.5 days (IQR = 1.0-5.8) in the pillow group (p = 0.61). The probability to remain pressure ulcer-free at the heels was significantly higher in the wedge-shaped cushion group (p = 0.008).

CONCLUSION: The study provides evidence that a wedge-shaped, bedwide, viscoelastic foam cushion decreases the risk of developing a heel pressure ulcer compared with the use of a pillow.

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