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More hospital trusts to trial scanner that helps prevent pressure ulcers

A hand-held scanner that spots early signs of tissue damage is to be trialled in a further 29 NHS organisations across the UK

Twenty-nine hospital trusts across the UK are next in line to trial a hand-held scanner that spots early signs of tissue damage, in a bid to cut the number of pressure ulcers.

The SEM Scanner, which can detect damage up to ten days before it becomes visible to the naked eye, has already been trialled at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust. Following its success, ten other trusts, including Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, are now trialling it.

The scanner is placed on tissue where damage is most likely to occur, for example on the heels, buttocks, elbows and shoulders, and its sensors measure levels of inflammation. If any tissue damage is identified by the scanner beneath the skin, nurses can take measures to prevent it developing into a pressure ulcer, such as turn the patient every two hours instead of every four or put protective footwear on the patient.

Clinical specialist and former tissue viability nurse Kay Smith, who is employed at Bruin Bioemtrics, which developed the scanner, said: ‘The scanner has given nurses confidence in their own ability to assess pressure ulcers independently. It is a massive step forward.’

She said she would like to see the scanners used in every hospital ward, as well as in care homes and in the community by district nurses.
 

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