Multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac in pressure injury prevention: a review of the evidence to help change clinical practice
Pressure injuries are a challenging problem. They have a significant impact on patient morbidity, mortality and quality of life. Furthermore, they are associated with substantial treatment-related costs and may result in litigation and government penalties imposed on healthcare providers. The commonly used phrase 'prevention is better than cure' is, without doubt, applicable to pressure injury management for all concerned.
Pressure injuries have often been described as unavoidable. However, research into the use of multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac®, when used as a component of standard preventive measures, has shown that this intervention can reduce the occurrence of pressure ulcers.
A recently published review, "Role of multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac in the prevention of pressure ulcers: a review of the clinical and scientific data", focuses on clinical data from the entire evidence hierarchy and scientific data from well-designed laboratory studies to demonstrate the clinical and economic benefits to be had from using multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac prophylactically for pressure ulcer management.1
The review, published as a supplement to the January 2016 edition of the Journal of Wound Care, starts off by explaining how pressure ulcers are classified according to the depth of tissue damage and the exposure of bone, tendon and muscle. It then highlights the numerous intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors for pressure ulceration before explaining how the impact of friction, shear and microclimate can potentiate the effects of pressure.
The document goes on to highlight the large variations in reported prevalence rates for pressure injuries between different geographical regions and clinical settings. It also points out that the sacrum and the heel are the most common locations for pressure injuries, and that medical device-related pressure injuries are a growing concern.
Reference is then made to an international clinical guideline developed by highly regarded professional associations which recommends that consideration should be given to applying foam dressings to bony prominences (in conjunction with other preventive measures) to prevent pressure ulceration in anatomical areas that are frequently subjected to friction and shear.2 Interestingly, most of the research findings cited in support of this statement emanate from clinical studies on multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac. The same guideline also recommends that prophylactic dressings should be considered for preventing medical device-related pressure injuries.
The review then summarises the results of the many clinical, economic and laboratory studies that have been undertaken to assess the efficacy of multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac on pressure injury occurrence. In summary, the review highlights the following:
- More than 40 evidence pieces (journal articles and conference presentations), including three presenting the findings of randomised controlled trials), describe reductions in pressure ulceration associated with the use of multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac.
- One particular evidence piece describes the results of a systematic review which concluded that high-quality evidence exists for just one group of dressings (multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac) in relation to pressure ulcer prevention3.
- This evidence may not be transferrable to other products as their structure and composition vary.
- The use of multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac as a component of standard pressure injury preventive measures can be expected to achieve substantial cost savings.
By bringing all the clinical and scientific research data together, this review can be used by clinicians and health care providers to fully understand the benefits to be had from using multi-foam dressings as a component of pressure injury preventive measures.
Review for download
Role of multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac in the prevention of pressure ulcers: a review of the clinical and scientific data (1 MB pdf, opens in a new window)