Pressure sores are lesions caused by pressure against soft tissue that limits blood flow to the area. They are often brought on by an increase in pressure on bony prominences. Health care system needs an innovative method to predict and prevent the early formation of pressure ulcers in all patients of varying gender, age, race, weight, mobility and many other physiological factors. It is commonly thought that pressure ulcers form from an irritation or constant force applied to the body over a prolonged period. Although this is true, pressure ulcers can also come from a large, sharp force over a brief period of time (Bluestein et al., 2006).
The main risk factors in the development of pressure ulcers are limited mobility and neuropathy or compromised sensation. 70% of pressure ulcers occur in patients 65 years or older, and the other 30% occur in younger patients with severe illnesses or diseases (Bluestein et al., 2006). To this day, the most vulnerable patients are paraplegics who are dependent on a third party to help them shift their pressure points.
Most innovative approaches rely heavily on a third party that either follow a guideline (timed-movements) or are cued by sensors to help direct their therapy. This device is designed particularly for conscious patients with lower extremity paralysis.
Anatomically, the upper and lower extremity are mirror images of each other. The ischial region is anatomically similar to the shoulder blade region. The same goes for the tailbone and the thoracic spinous process and so on as seen in Figure 1. This new wearable device (Fig. 2) will deliver to the sensate upper extremity the resulting continuous pressure that builds up in the anatomically insensate similar lower extremity (Fig. 1,2).
A given patient who is immobile and with a sensory deficit in the lower extremity region will have different pressure sensors at different high-risk pressure points (Fig. 1). The afflicted patient with this innovative wearable device in the upper extremity will now be able to indirectly sense the pressure buildup in the lower extremity and take corrective action to shift the pressure to different points. As that pressure is shifted by means of the combined controlled seat cushion, the artificially exerted pressure in the upper extremity will also be relieved and will offer an instant gratification to the patient (Fig. 2).
• The benefit of such a system is that each patient acts as his own control in relation to tissue susceptibility affected by nutritional status and other inherent risk factors.
• The wearable device will restore full independence to the patient as he/she will not need a third party or remote monitored sensors to dictate their life.
• The patient will be able to shift the pressure points and detect when a measure has successfully relieved pressure independently. There will be less risk of shear stress upon moving and turning by a third party.
Over time with other recorded biomarkers and risk profile, the use of this product can be customized for personal tolerance preferences. In addition, preset settings can be delivered based on data obtained from the first iteration of the device so that it may be delivered to a cognitively-impaired individual.
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