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Thread: Pressure ulcer prevention device

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Pressure ulcer prevention device

    Hi guys,

    I just want to start by saying that yes, I am with a start up and I am not in a wheelchair - but I also want to say that we are trying to create assistive devices for wheelchair users like yourself and I would love if you could give some feedback. If you check out sensimatsystems.com you can get a full overview of what we are creating, plus a short video explaining what we are working on.

    We are creating a small mat that contains pressure sensors that will go underneath your cushion. This will measure your pressure as you sit, and send that data to a mobile application on your phone. This mobile app will then let you know when you are at risk of high pressure, facilitate pressure relieving exercises (lateral and forward bends, push-offs), and help to track all of this for you.

    I want to ask a few things - do you have problems with pressure ulcers? Do you follow a pressure relief regimen? Who trained you to relieve pressure? Does the SensiMAT sound like a good idea? Are there any features you would like to see? If this could be covered under ADP, does that make it more attractive?

    Thanks in advance for the input!

  2. #2
    Senior Member darty's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Senior Member lazierdog's Avatar
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    I just think there are too many variables here. How does it know when you are at risk? A spike in pressure? You can still develop a sore with a low constant pressure over a long period of time. For example, fatigue failures can occur with high-cycle low-stress or low-cycle high-stress. Also, each person has a different level at which their body can tolerate before a sore starts developing. So how does the system know that? In theory, bad things start happening the second you sit. Some can sit in the same position for a "long" period of time whereas I have to move around after 3 or 4 minutes. I guess I'd have to know more about the software capabilities before a final judgement can be made.

  4. #4
    Interesting idea. If you can make this affordable, I think you'll find a market for it.

    Two points:

    1. Your video seems to imply that pressure increases throughout the day. I don't agree. This would be true if someone added a brick to their lap every 10min, but realistically the amount of pressure is mostly going to remain constant. It's the time variable that's more of an issue for people.

    2. Placing a mat under the cushion is an inaccurate way to measure the pressure on one's skin. Plus, there's a lot of variation between cushions, seat types, etc. If you can design a mat that's thin enough that can be placed on top of one's cushion, yet still inside a cover, it'll be much more effective.

    Kudos for the idea though! Hope it's successful.

    Oh... and change the visuals on your site to a legit everyday wheelchair and not a hospital/airport chair.

  5. #5
    There are pressure measuring mats that are currently being used for pressure mapping. They can be connected to a laptop and used while the person is wheeling. I have done that. It would seem to me that you could make an affordable version of that and adapt it for smartphone use. I think one benefit would be that it could check for high pressure spots that remain constant for a critical period and then alert the user not only that a weight shift is needed but where the problem is.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    Not being an engineer obviously limits my understanding but I can not see how my sore butt sends a signal through the air in my cushion that alerts me to a problem.

    I also, like scott, don't believe that the weight on my cushion increases over time. It is the prologed contact with the surface of the cushion that eventually begins to damage the nerves. I always wondered if the heat of my skin increases over time with extended contact.

    It would be great like scott and 55 says, to have a permanent pressure mat to sit on. Maybe a change in color could warn us.

    Thanks for giving this huge problem a possble solution.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    One for bed. One for the footrests.

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  8. #8
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    To tell the truth, my trust in pressure mapping technology is extremely limited. Last time, it showed very minor hotspots on my ITs and nothing of concern in the area that goes to sleep within ten minutes on that cushion!

    No one taught me to relieve pressure. Because I have full sensation, I'm just expected to move when uncomfortable, I guess. Downslide of a lifelong, progressive condition is a lack of comprehensive rehab.

    What would be most useful for me is regular reminders to shift (that only come through when I'm actually ON my cushion, and not, say, in bed or in my standing frame, and that take into account when I last shifted, not just going off every X minutes), and records of how long I have been sitting during the day. If the mobile app could access my phone's GPS or something to monitor where I am when I'm not on my cushion (my bed and my standing frame are reasonably distant and don't move), and keep track of the hours there too, that would also be helpful. If the same app could also remind me to do daily inspections and allow me to record my findings, that would be helpful. Would it be possible to teach the app what the various pressure patterns mean, so that it can recognise when I am sitting with my legs crossed, when I have my knees up on the couch and no weight on my thighs, when I'm in the car leaning back with my pelvis tilted back, etc? Some of these positions are more risky than others, pressure-wise, so I should shift sooner.

    This is something that seems unlikely to be publicly funded here, because of its reliance on an iPhone, so whether I would consider using it would depend greatly on price. An argument might be made that if I was going to spend money for pressure-related reasons, that money would be better spent on a higher profile/more heavy-duty cushion than on this device, which could effectively just turn out to be information about what is wrong with my current cushions.

    I hope that any potential legal ramifications have been thought through at your end, as it seems to me that this system could easily lead people to a false sense of security as regards their pressure management.

    If the mat would not handle being squeezed into a cushion cover smaller than it is, you're going to need to provide more size options. Related point: you've used the wrong symbol in your cushion size drop-down. 20' x 20'? No one uses a 20 FOOT by 20 FOOT cushion! ;-)

  9. #9
    Not enough information on web site to form an opinion. What is pressure sensor density (# measurement points per square inch)? Not even a ballpark price estimate. If this were affordable (low hundreds) I'd consider it as more of a warning system for bottoming out on ROHO.

  10. #10
    Hi all,

    Thanks for the feedback - I am truly blown away by your honest and informative responses. The device is still being developed so all the features and functionality aren't fully known, but I will try and answer questions as best as I can.

    - We are trying to make the tech as affordable as possible because we want this to help you guys out in your daily lives, not in the clinic. Right now we are looking somewhere in the $500 range, but we are looking at ways to reduce that and get it reimbursed.

    - The mat can definitely go on top of the cushion - but that may defeat the point of having a great cushion! We are testing to make sure that we can detect pressure underneath accurately.

    - @scifor55yrs - you hit the nail on the head. This is exactly what we are trying to do. We will measure pressure and the length of time of that pressure. You will be alerted via smartphone app when pressure/time gets too high and crosses a threshold, including location on the seat.

    - @forestranger52 - the pressure mat has no wires and uses a bluetooth module to send the data to your phone - think of it the same way that a wireless headset connects to your phone!

    - @QTiPi - it will know if you are in the chair or not because it can detect the lack of pressure, if you aren't in it It will also be able to track trends, we are sure exactly which ones yet, but we will most likely include something that highlights your problem areas


    Thanks again all!

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