Pressure Care Explained
Encompassed within the design of all our seating systems is the necessity for good positioning and ultimate comfort. Technology helps us lead the way and incorporation of the latest pressure care advances with our proven seating products has produced an unparalleled range of pressure care seating systems.
Within our seating range is the option of three integral pressure care management seat modules:
What is a pressure injury?
A pressure injury is an injury to the skin and the tissue under it. Sitting or lying in the same position will begin to cut off the flow of blood to that area, blocking oxygen and vital nutrients from maintaining healthy tissue. When the tissue becomes starved for too long it begins to die and a pressure injury starts to form.
Pressure injuries can be referred to as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers. Damage from a pressure sore will range from slight discoloration of the skin (stage 1) to open sores that go all the way to the bone (severe).
Whilst there are many aetiological factors that contribute to the development of pressure damage the largest single cause is unrelieved pressure. Other factors include malnutrition, incontinence, altered levels of consciousness and/or sensation whilst extrinsic factors look towards pressure, friction, shear, temperature and moisture. It is difficult to identify any one particular cause of pressure damage as it is often a combination of the above factors.1
For those individuals seated for long periods and unable to adjust their position to relieve pressure, the risk of pressure-related problems increases. At this point the importance of choosing the most appropriate seating system to ensure correct postural support and pressure care is vital.
Dyna-Tek® Intelligent Air
Intelligent Air incorporates Reactive Airflow technology, a system of air and foam-filled cells with a patented valve system designed to displace and adjust air in response to user body weight and movement.
Intelligent Air automatically adjusts to each user so is also ideal for use in multi-user care environments such as nursing homes or hospital wards. Intelligent Air is incredibly lightweight and features a specialist pressure redistributing castellated-cut and contoured user interface for effective postural support. The unique ‘layer of air over foam’ design not only maximises patient comfort but also ensure effective impact damping to reduce unnecessary spinal stress and patient egress assistance.
Intelli-Gel® has a soft elastomer, honeycomb structure that contours gently to large surface areas distributing weight evenly. It is the honeycomb columns that when joined together provide the right support and pressure relief. The Intelli-Gel® cradles “hot spots”, providing superior pressure relief, support and stability when seated.
The properties of Intelli-Gel® enable it to retain its core temperature therefore it does not heat up when in use retaining its structure and reducing the susceptibility to tissue breakdown. The material is breathable and moisture does not build up at the skin/cushion interface reducing the propensity for shear stress and abrasion to negatively affect the skin.
Intelli-Gel® is engineered using a technique called column buckling which means that each column can support a certain amount of weight until it buckles redistributing the pressure to surrounding columns. The pressure hotspots get a reduction in pressure which gives the low pressure areas the additional support they need. Intelli-Gel® will adjust to each individual’s needs regardless of weight or body shape.
In-house pressure mapping tests revealed that Intelli-Gel® exhibited superior pressure redistributing qualities in comparison to other static pressure relieving materials including solid and liquid gels, 3D spacer fabric, water cushions, foam and visco-elastic foam combinations of varying densities.
External research at The Rehabilitation Engineering and Applied Research Lab (REAR) at Georgia Tech University indicated that the Intelli-Gel® cushion provided significant pressure redistribution compared with foam and air-based cushions.
Further external research was undertaken by Fiona Collins of Tissue Viability Consultancy Services Ltd (2009) to ascertain the clinical efficacy of the Intelli-Gel® cushion. This research was conducted on a small group of individuals with some existing pressure damage living at a nursing home. The Intelli-Gel® cushion was used in conjunction with their existing armchair. All the participating subjects’ skin showed significant improvement by day 14 of the trial. This trial indicates that the inclusion of an Intelli-Gel® cushion can have significant impact on not only preventing but assisting in the healing of established pressure damage for extremely vulnerable people. Furthermore, the use of the Intelli-Gel® cushion enabled all of the subjects to sit more comfortably, with an upright and symmetrical posture, for longer.2
The Intelli-Gel® seat modules are an option for those users at high to very high risk of pressure related problems and for those who have pressure injuries up to Grade II (EPUAP).
We offer a range of freestanding Intelli-Gel Cushions. Click below for links to these products:
*Currently only available on the Kirton Florien Elite.
The Dyna-Flex® Cushion incorporates the most exclusive combination of visco elastic & CME foam technology, providing not only outstanding pressure re-distribution, but great patient comfort. The temperature sensitive memory foam softens at patient interface, thus giving even weight distribution, while the CME underside prevents the foam from bottoming out. Suitable for patients considered to be at “high risk” of pressure injury development, the Dyna-Flex® gives nursing security without the patient challenging the issue of comfort.
Reflexion™ is an impressive foam that moulds itself to the contours of the user, this helps to spread the body weight more evenly across a greater surface area. This function is essential to avoid localised interface pressure on the critical parts of the body subjected to compression and possible tissue damage, for example, the ischial tuberosities and the sacrum.
In a clinical evaluation by the manufacturers Vitafoam, Reflexion™ demonstrated positive pressure ulcer prevention outcomes in every subject. No incidence of pressure ulceration was reported, even on patients regarded as being at high, or even very high risk. Indeed, there was encouraging evidence to support its use for reducing non-blanching hyperaemia as all patients with this condition were free of tissue breakdown at the end of the trial. Our own research carried out in conjunction with Anglia Ruskin University concurred that the properties of Reflexion™ foam surpassed that of other foams in the market.4
All foams are classified according to performance; therefore class becomes the measure of performance and durability. Each separate composite of a Reflexion™ seat conforms to BS3379 class “V”, intended for use in very severe applications.
Reflexion™ foam has been applied to key products within the specialist seating range on the principle user contact surface areas to improve their pressure relieving characteristics. Reflexion™ foam seat modules are an option for those users at medium to high risk of pressure related problems.
Clinical assessments were conducted by Tissue Viability Consultancy Services Ltd. Acknowledgement to www.vitafoam.co.uk
1Collins F (2009) Clinical Evaluation of Intelli-Gel ® Cushions in a Nursing Home.
2Collins F (2009) Clinical Evaluation of Intelli-Gel® in a Nursing Home.
3Collins F (1999) The contribution made by an armchair with integral pressure-reducing cushion in the prevention of pressure sore incidence in the elderly acute ill patient J.Tissue Viability 9(4): 133-7.
4Evaluation of Interface pressure distribution for improved seat cushion design. V. Palissary, R. Mootanah Bio- Engineering Research Group, Faculty of Science & Technology Anglia Ruskin University (September 2005)
Intelli-Gel® is protected by US Patents 5749111, 6026527, 6413458, 6797765, 7076822 and other US and International patents pending.
All copyright, design rights and intellectual property rights existing in our designs and products and the images, text and design of this website and the marketing material contained within are and will remain the property of
Direct Healthcare Group. Any infringement of these rights will be pursued vigorously.