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Decubitus. 1991 Nov;4(4):42-4, 46, 48.

Prevention of pressure ulcers in elderly nursing home residents: are special support surfaces the answer?


This article describes a research study that compared the effectiveness of two pressure-reducing devices in a group of elderly nursing home residents. The results obtained revealed no significant differences between the two devices--an air-filled overlay and a gel mattress--in terms of pressure ulcer incidence, severity, and healing. Several factors contributed to these results and illustrate the problems encountered when preventing pressure ulcer development in a group of elderly, debilitated nursing home residents. These factors include ease of use of the pressure-reducing device, caregiver and facility characteristics, and critical patient variables. Until these variables are addressed, it is impossible for any device to be effective in preventing pressure ulcer development in nursing homes.

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