Pressure injuries can be gruelling for patients and the bane of the medical system but in a first for an Australian hospital, clinicians at Hornsby’s ICU are trialling a scanning device that is transforming how they are treated.
Each day, nurses hold a small, wireless sub-epidermal moisture (SEM) scanner against various spots on a patient’s heel and sacrum area for one second. Pressure injuries create SEM in the tissue and the Provizio scanner can detect it 4 mm below the skin’s surface, and usually five days before it can be seen.
“It’s an extraordinary piece of technology and there is only one of its kind in the world,” said Nurse Unit Manager of the Intensive Care Jay Halkhoree, who came across the device while reading articles about pressure injuries management. He spoke to friends and colleagues in Europe who were using the device and recommended it.
Pressure injuries have a negative impact on a patient’s psychological well-being and quality of life. As they may not initially form on the skin, there is no feasible way to detect them. As a result, nurses make a subjective assessment about whether they are likely to form.
In a trial run of the device in 2022, 90 percent of scans showed a high-risk score in patients who had been identified as having low or no risk of getting a pressure injury using this subjective method.
Jay said pressure sores are a leading hospital-acquired complication. They are also an enormous financial drain on the global medical system.
It is believed Hornsby is the first hospital in Australia to pick up the technology Jay said.