Evaluating pressure redistribution surfaces for the occiput

Emily Werthman, Theresa Lynch, Linda Ware, Julie Caffrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Patients hospitalised in the Burn Intensive Care Unit are at increased risk of pressure ulcers (PU; also known as pressure injuries). While effective methods exist to offload pressure from other areas, offloading the head is difficult, especially with facial or head burns. An increase in occipital PUs prompted a review of practices for offloading the head in the Burn Intensive Care Unit. Method: A multidisciplinary team (MDT) of physicians, occupational therapists and nurses evaluated several devices used to prevent occipital PUs using a pressure mapping device. Pressure was measured using the SensorEdge Measure X device. The pressure mapping device provides a real-time graphic representation of pressure to the body area studied, in this case the occiput. In addition, the SensorEdge allows for numeric data to be exported to Excel format. Results: Our data showed that the occipital pressure was observed in our health volunteer using a fluidised gel positioner using pressure mapping. As a result of this we stopped using other pillows and went to exclusive use of the fluidised gel positioner. Reimplementation and consistent use of a fluidised gel positioner resulted in decreasing occipital PUs from nine to zero. Conclusion: The use of a fluidised gel positioner should be considered in other critical care environments to reduce the prevalence of hospital acquired occipital PUs. Declaration of interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S38-S41
JournalJournal of Wound Care
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Burn
  • Nursing
  • Occiput
  • Occiput
  • Pressure injury
  • Pressure ulcer prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fundamentals and skills
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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