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Support Surfaces, Supplements May Prevent Bed Sores

Overall methodological quality of trials is poor

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Use of support surfaces, repositioning patients, optimizing nutritional status and moisturizing sacral skin may be appropriate strategies to prevent pressure ulcers, according to the results of a systematic review published in the Aug. 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Madhuri Reddy, M.D., M.Sc., of the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Boston, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of 59 randomized controlled trials that assessed interventions to prevent pressure ulcers, including those that address impairments in mobility, nutritional status and skin health.

Overall, the methodological quality of these trials was poor, but researchers did identify certain promising interventions, including the use of support surfaces such as mattress overlays on operating tables, specialized foam overlays and sheepskin overlays. One trial showed that nutritional supplements may help prevent pressure ulcers, but little specific information is available. Moisturizing dry sacral skin seems to be a reasonable strategy, the report indicates. While repositioning patients is considered a mainstay for preventing pressure ulcers, insufficient evidence exists on how to best turn patients.

Going forward, "there is a need for well-designed randomized controlled trials that follow standard criteria for reporting non-pharmacological interventions that provide data on cost-effectiveness for these interventions," the authors conclude.

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