International research demonstrates effectiveness of the Australian Medical Sheepskin in the prevention of pressure ulcers
A new analysis of combined data from two Australian studies and a Dutch one demonstrates strong evidence that the Australian Medical Sheepskin is an effective aid for the prevention of pressure ulcers. Researchers from NIVEL, EMGO-institute and some Australian institutes have published this recently in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Pressure ulcers easily develop in patients who stay in bed during long periods of time, e.g. elderly people and nursing home patients. The Australian Medical Sheepskin was proven effective in the prevention of pressure ulcers in three earlier studies. Two studies concerned Australian hospital patients and one study concerned patients in Dutch nursing homes.
The individual patient data of these three studies were now combined and analyzed in two ways. The meta-analyses confirmed the effectiveness. Incidence of sacral pressure ulcers in the control group was 12.2% versus 5.4% in the group of patients that received an Australian Medical Sheepskin.
Traditional sheepskins are difficult to launder and cause hygienic problems when used in health care settings. Synthetic sheepskins are not effective. The Australian Medical sheepskins, however, are tanned in a special way so they can withstand multiple washing at 80 degrees without losing their pressure relieving qualities.
The three studies involved 1281 patients at 45 nursing wards in three hospitals and eight nursing homes. Patients were followed from admission until discharge or until 30 days after admission. The control group patients received usual care while the intervention group patients received usual care and an Australian Medical Sheepskin as a bed overlay. Presence of sacral pressure ulcers was checked daily with all patients.