Pressure ulcer prevention

Multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac in pressure ulcer prevention

By : Mölnlycke Health Care, April 25 2016Posted in: Pressure ulcer prevention

Pressure ulcers are a challenging problem. They have a significant impact on patient morbidity, mortality, and quality of life. Furthermore, they are associated with substantial treatment-related costs and may result in litigation and government penalties imposed on healthcare providers. The commonly used phrase 'prevention is better than cure' is, without doubt, applicable to pressure ulcer management for all concerned.

Pressure ulcers have often been described as unavoidable. However, research into the use of multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac®, when used as a component of standard preventive measures, has shown that this intervention can reduce the occurrence of pressure ulcers.

A recently published review, "Role of multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac in the prevention of pressure ulcers: a review of the clinical and scientific data", focuses on clinical data from the entire evidence hierarchy and scientific data from well-designed laboratory studies to demonstrate the clinical and economic benefits to be had from using multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac prophylactically for pressure ulcer management.1

The review, published as a supplement to the January 2016 edition of the Journal of Wound Care, starts off by explaining how pressure ulcers are classified according to the depth of tissue damage and the exposure of bone, tendon and muscle. It then highlights the numerous intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors for pressure ulceration before explaining how the impact of friction, shear and microclimate can potentiate the effects of pressure.

The document goes on to highlight the large variations in reported prevalence rates for pressure ulcers between different geographical regions and clinical settings. It also points out that the sacrum and the heel are the most common locations for pressure ulcers, and that medical device-related pressure ulcers are a growing concern.

Reference is then made to an international clinical guideline developed by highly regarded professional associations which recommends that consideration should be given to applying foam dressings to bony prominences (in conjunction with other preventive measures) to prevent pressure ulceration in anatomical areas that are frequently subjected to friction and shear.2 Interestingly, most of the research findings cited in support of this statement emanate from clinical studies on multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac. The same guideline also recommends that prophylactic dressings should be considered for preventing medical device-related pressure ulcers.

The review then summarises the results of the many clinical, economic and laboratory studies that have been undertaken to assess the efficacy of multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac on pressure ulcer occurrence. In summary, the review highlights the following:

  • More than 40 evidence pieces (journal articles and conference presentations), including three presenting the findings of randomised controlled trials), describe reductions in pressure ulceration associated with the use of multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac.
  • One particular evidence piece describes the results of a systematic review which concluded that high-quality evidence exists for just one group of dressings (multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac) in relation to pressure ulcer prevention3.
  • This evidence may not be transferable to other products as their structure and composition vary.
  • The use of multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac as a component of standard pressure ulcer preventive measures can be expected to achieve substantial cost savings.

By bringing all the clinical and scientific research data together, this review can be used by clinicians and health care providers to fully understand the benefits to be had from using multi-foam dressings as a component of pressure ulcer preventive measures.

Review for download

Role of multi-layer-foam dressing with Safetac in prevention of pressure ulcers Role of multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac in the prevention of pressure ulcers: a review of the clinical and scientific data (1 MB pdf, opens in a new window)


  1. Davies, P. Role of multi-layer foam dressings with Safetac in the prevention of pressure ulcers: a review of the clinical and scientific data. Journal of Wound Care 2016;25(1):S1-S24.
  2. National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel and Pan Pacific Pressure Ulcer Injury Alliance.Prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers: clinical practice guideline.In: Haesler E. (ed) Cambridge Media, 2014.
  3. Clark, M., Black, J., Alves, P. et al. Systematic review of the use of prophylactic dressings in the prevention of pressure ulcers. International Wound Journal 2014;11(5):460–471.
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