Hospital requires use of wireless, wearable sensors to prevent bedsores

Leaf patient sensor--Courtesy of Leaf Healthcare

Chino Valley Medical Center is the first hospital to write a requirement for use of the Leaf Patient Monitoring System to prevent pressure ulcers into its patient safety protocols. The Pleasanton, CA-based, teaching hospital is requiring the use of the adhesive, wireless sensors from Leaf Healthcare to help ensure that its at-risk patients are turned frequently enough by hospital staff to prevent the common problem.

The technology will be required for each patient who scores 18 or lower on the Braden Scale for predicting pressure ulcer risk. The measure involves 6 criteria to assess the level of risk: the ability of the patient to detect and respond to pain or discomfort, level of excessive and continuous skin moisture, amount of physical activity, degree of patient mobility, nutritional status and the amount of assistance the patient needs to move in beds or chairs.

Any patient with an 18 on the scale is deemed to have a mild risk of potential bedsores, with patients that have lower scores having a greater risk.

Use of the sensors has been shown to improve hospital staff compliance with turn protocols, since the accompanying software monitors the frequency with which a patient is turned and offers individualized tracking and alerts for reminding staff that a patient needs to be turned to relieve pressure that can lead to bedsores.

Dr. James Lally

"The vigilance of our staff in regards to prevention methods has enabled Chino Valley to substantially reduce the incidence of reportable pressure ulcers at our facility," Dr. James Lally, chief medical officer of Chino Valley, said in a statement. "The Leaf Patient Monitor will help us to maintain a pressure ulcer-free performance goal while significantly improving staff productivity by allowing clinicians to focus on those patients requiring turn assistance."

In a study, use of the Leaf patient sensor improved hospital staff compliance with turn protocols to 98% from a baseline of 64%. In separate data as a part of a national Veterans Affairs initiative to reduce hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, staff compliance with hospital turn protocols improved to 89% from compliance rates that have been shown to be as low as 15%.

The system includes a small sensor that adheres to the skin and monitors the patient's position and movement. Data is collected wirelessly and displayed on central computers or mobile devices via software that includes an alert when patients are due to be moved. The device has been cleared by the FDA.

Pressure ulcers are a painful and often chronic condition that afflicts an estimated 2.5 million U.S. patients and cost the U.S. healthcare system more than $11 billion a year, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Hospitals often absorb costs related to hospital-acquired pressure ulcers since they do not qualify for reimbursement by payers, the company noted.

Chino Valley Medical Center is a 126-bed community hospital with 10 intensive care beds.

"Our experience with the Leaf Patient Monitoring System showed that it offers a breakthrough in patient care and safety," said Lally.

- here is the release

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