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Clinical Intervention Eliminates Heel Ulcer Incidents in ICU

- Texas medical center reduces heel ulcers to zero, saves nearly $2 million

CARY, Ill., March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients that are sedated or immobilized are at a higher risk for the development of heel pressure ulcers and plantar flexion contractures, conditions that can significantly reduce quality of life. Establishment of a heel ulcer prevention protocol including the use of heel protectors resulted in 100 percent prevention of hospital-acquired heel pressure ulcers and plantar flexion contractures, according to findings presented February 27 and 28 at the biennial conference for the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP). The NPUAP helps shape public policy through education and research in order to improve patient outcomes.

"Preventing heel pressure ulcers by applying a protocol such as a heel protector device can have an immediate impact on at-risk patients," said Tina Meyers, WOC Program Manager at Harris County Hospital District in Harris County, TX and lead investigator of the study. "The preventative approach represents a shift in the clinical paradigm from other traditional methods."

In the study, 53 sedated ICU patients from Conroe Regional Medical Center in Conroe, TX were given a heel protector to maintain heel suspension and prevent plantar flexion contracture. The prevention protocol included pressure ulcer risk identification, early recognition of skin issues, and methods to maintain proper heel alignment and suspension.

After a 7-month assessment, none of the patients developed new pressure ulcers or skin injury, and 9.4% of patients showed improvement in heel status from entry to discharge. In addition, of the 16 abnormal heels upon entry, only 8 heels were abnormal upon exit, representing a 50% decrease of abnormal heel status.

The study also estimated a significant cost savings for the hospital. Upon evaluation of the cost of a heel protector compared to treatment costs for heel ulcers the hospital realized an annual cost-savings of approximately $1.9 million. The heel protector device utilized in this study is the Prevalon(R) Pressure-Relieving Heel Protector, manufactured by Sage Products.

Recent healthcare reform has put additional focus on ulcer prevention in ICUs. In the last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stopped providing reimbursement for hospital-acquired pressure ulcers. The CMS guidelines, along with research, are further increasing awareness for a preventative approach to patient care.

About Sage Products Inc.

Since 1971, Sage Products has developed disposable healthcare products trusted by leading healthcare facilities worldwide. The company has a core belief in prevention--that evidence-based interventions improve outcomes. Sage is pioneering Interventional Patient Hygiene with industry-leading brands such as Toothette(R) oral care, Sage(R) 2% Chlorhexidine Gluconate Cloths for patient preoperative skin preparation, Comfort Bath(R) Cleansing Washcloths, Comfort Shield(R) Incontinence Care Washcloths and Prevalon(R) Pressure-Relieving Heel Protector. These advanced hygiene products make it easier for busy nurses to deliver essential patient care. The company's goal is to help improve patient safety and outcomes by preventing skin breakdown, healthcare-associated pneumonias, surgical site infections and other adverse hospital-acquired events. For more information, visit

SOURCE Sage Products Inc.
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