Device-related pressure ulcers: SECURE prevention. Second edition

Amit Gefen, Paulo Alves, Guido Ciprandi, Fiona Coyer, Catherine T. Milne, Karen Ousey, Norihiko Ohura, Nicola Waters, Peter Worsley, Joyce Black, Michelle Barakat-Johnson, Dimitri Beeckman, Jacqui Fletcher, Holly Kirkland-Kyhn, Nils A. Lahmann, Zena Moore, Yohan Payan, Anna Barbara Schlüer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Although great strides have been made to tackle hospital-acquired pressure ulcers (HAPUs), there is a need for greater recognition of device-related pressure ulcers (DRPUs), including their causes, management and prevention. This consensus statement, an updated second edition, aims to continue raising awareness of these largely preventable injuries and, crucially, to stimulate action. DRPUs are relatively common and account for a growing proportion of HAPUs. Updated information on the incidence of DRPUs is described in chapter 1. Although it is recognised that DRPUs increase the financial burden of healthcare, there is little formal analysis of their economic impact. This needs to be addressed; robust evidence on the burden of DRPUs and the value that can be released by adopting prevention strategies is needed to help drive action. Our understanding of the pathophysiology of DRPUs has improved significantly over the past few years; this is described in chapter 2. One crucial difference between PUs and DRPUs is that body-weight forces are less significant in DRPUs, with the force being exerted from a device that is typically strapped or taped onto the body. Devices and their securement may generate high stress concentrations in tissues, leading to cell and tissue-damage pathways associated with sustained deformation. As more evidence is published on DRPUs, recurring themes are emerging, as outlined in chapter 3: The most vulnerable patients are bearing the brunt of DRPUs; paediatric and neonatal patients, and all those needing critical care are particularly susceptible. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a new high-risk population (people with severe COVID-19 infection) emerged. They are at increased risk of DRPUs because of their need for prolonged ventilatory support, especially when 'proning' Devices associated with DRPUs are often used to perform essential, life-saving functions. They include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks or endotracheal tubes. Minimising their use is clearly not an option, so practice innovation is needed Although the most common locations for DRPUs are the face, ears, lower legs and heels, any location where a device comes into close contact with the skin can be at risk. In the same vein, any device, whether needed for a medical purpose or not, has the capacity to cause injury if its use is not properly managed. Vigilance is needed for all patients. What can be done? The importance of routine risk assessment is covered in chapter 4. Although use of a validated risk assessment tool is the vital first step, this will not be enough on its own. Several steps can be taken to ensure the safe use of devices. These are described in chapter 5 and include device repositioning, cushioning with prophylactic dressings and moisture control (only where possible and clinically appropriate). Of key importance is the development of an institutional protocol and champions to ensure all necessary steps are adopted. For any of these changes to be put into practice, awareness of DRPUs needs to increase. A number of proposals are outlined in chapter 6. A change of focus among health professionals and policy makers, along with more investment in education and training, are needed. All patients being managed with a medical device must be considered as at high risk. The pandemic introduced the world to the problem of DRPUs in health professionals caused by the extended wear of personal protective equipment. Health professionals also have a right to expect institutional protocols and provision of devices that protect them from DRPUs. Cutting-edge ideas and technologies that may be available in the future are described in chapter 7. When designing new products, manufacturers of medical devices have a duty of care to investigate the risks of DRPUs associated with their products and mitigate them, wherever possible. Our developing understanding of how the design, structure and materials used in medical devices contribute to DRPUs will help us develop new solutions for tomorrow. The first step is for everyone involved to ask themselves, 'what can I do to help?' There is work to be done-your journey to reduce DRPUs starts here!.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S1-S72
JournalJournal of wound care
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022


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