The Principal Objective of this Fast Track SBIR project is to develop and validate a cost-effective commercial product, TheraSense", a highly innovative active support surface bed system for the treatment and prevention of serious decubitus ulcers, commonly known as bed sores or pressure ulcers. Current advanced bed systems for both institutional and home therapy for the most deleterious and costly advanced ulcers are expensive, challenging to use, and uncomfortable for the patient, and for bariatric patients, not available. This project is aimed at using novel technology to support, float, and immerse the body to dramatically improve the best features of existing bed systems, including dynamic pressure distribution, alternating pressure and advanced ventilation, to improve and accelerate patient healing and comfort at a much reduced cost over existing advanced support systems.
Pressure ulcers are a serious public health problem, adding billions to the cost of acute and long-term health care. Despite a greater focus placed on preventing pressure ulcers, they remain a significant healthcare problem. In the design of hospital mattresses and support surfaces emphasis has been placed on reducing tissue interface pressures to prevent ulcers by distributing weight over as large an area as possible;to minimize the number of elevated pressure points at bony prominences, a highly conforming load-bearing medium is needed to reduce the asymmetric distribution of weight over this area. Numerous types of materials and devices have been developed to achieve these objectives. Even though these approaches have lowered interface pressures below those experienced with the standard hospital mattress, the rate of pressure ulcer formation continues to increase among patients with limited mobility. There is an urgent need to develop a more effective alternative in support surface design that is affordable to a larger number of healthcare providers. The technology developed here represents a novel effort to improve pressure distribution for patients in a system that is more cost-effective, easier to use and administer, an more effective for the patient in healing and ultimately preventing pressure ulcers.