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Patient Wearable Technology Reduces Pressure Ulcers

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 08 Apr 2015
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Image: The Leaf patient sensor (Photo courtesy of Leaf Healthcare).
Image: The Leaf patient sensor (Photo courtesy of Leaf Healthcare).
An electronic device monitors a patient's position and movements, alerting clinical staff so that they can prevent hospital acquired pressure ulcers.

The Leaf Patient Monitor is a system that enables hospitals, long term care facilities (LTCs), and nursing homes to wirelessly monitor the real-time orientation and activity of patients susceptible to pressure ulcers. The heart of the system is a disposable and wireless sensor that is affixed adhesively to the patient’s upper torso. The sensor is comprised of a 3-axis accelerometer to measure patient orientation and activity; a capacitive contact sensor that enables the device to sense when it is attached to skin; a microcontroller for automated data collection; and a wireless radio for communication.

Each patient sensor has a unique 64-bit serial number that is assigned during the manufacturing process. When the sensor is turned on, it joins a wireless mesh network of relay antennas setup inside the facility. The mesh network relays data from the individual patient sensors to a server computer that collects the patient data from the transceiver and stores it for subsequent analysis. Finally, the Leaf turn management software displays each patient’s turn history, current status, and alerts staff when patient orientation or activity deviates from individualized management protocols set by the healthcare provider.

The high degree of configurability of the system gives staff the flexibility to decide how best to implement it. A status board and/or computing device may be positioned at the central nursing station to give caregivers access to the Leaf User Interface; a display device providing caregiver access to the Interface can be positioned in each patient’s room; and the use of mobile computing devices such as laptops or tablet computers can enable dedicated turning teams to easily check which patients are due or soon due for an assisted turn. The Leaf Patient Monitor system is a product of Leaf Healthcare (Pleasanton, CA, USA).

“We believe the Leaf system can help us identify those mistakes before they compound to create a medical problem for our patients. We also expect the system to help our clinical staff allocate its time more efficiently by identifying the patients who need help with repositioning, and those who do not,” said Patrick Reinhard, RN, chief nursing officer of Desert Valley Medical Center (Victorville, CA, USA). “Preventing even one pressure ulcer case can save a patient from excruciating pain and prevent tens of thousands of dollars from being spent on medical care to cure a preventable condition.”

Related Links:

Leaf Healthcare
Desert Valley Medical Center

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