Cone Health Pioneers Use of Fabric Designed to Help Heal Pressure Ulcers

Imagine an 81.5 percent reduction in hospital-acquired pressure ulcers and a 6.4 percent reduction in length of stayall brought about by using a new type of bed linens and hospital gowns. DermaTherapy® is an engineered fabric that can replace the generic cotton blend used in traditional hospital linens and gowns.

The results of three clinical trials conducted at Cone Health hospitals are so compelling that Cone Health has become the first in the world to put bed linens, gowns and bed pads made from this patented antimicrobial fabric into its hospitals.

This is a breakthrough for patients everywhere. Far fewer patients develop bedsores, the wounds they have heal faster and a patients length of stay is shorter. Breakthrough is the perfect word to describe DermaTherapy, says Dr. Mary Jo Cagle, Chief Quality Officer, Cone Health.

The largest of the three trials of DermaTherapy products took place from December 2010 through May 2011 at Wesley Long Hospital in Greensboro, N.C., a part of the Cone Health network. Researchers found a 6.4 percent reduction in the length of stay for patients using DermaTherapy. Patients using DermaTherapy products developed 81.5 percent fewer pressure ulcers while in the hospital. The Wesley Long Hospital trial also found that upon discharge, patients who were admitted with bedsores had a 21 percent reduction in wounds, indicating that the linens promoted faster healing.
These therapeutic linens look like freshly pressed cotton but feel like silk. The fabric is smoother, drier and cleaner than the standard cotton blend used for hospital bedding and gowns. The smooth fabric reduces friction allowing the body to move more easily across the bed, making it less likely that a patients thin, weakened skin would tear and develop a pressure ulcer. The linens draw moisture away from the body faster and help regulate a patients skin temperature. This promotes healing.

It is hard to believe that the fabrics around a patient can improve the quality of care so much, says Annette Smith, RN, Vice President of Nursing, Cone Health.  But they do.  In fact, DermaTherapy items come back from the laundry with 92 percent fewer bacteria. That adds up to fewer new bacteria for a patient to battle and less time spent in the hospital.

DermaTherapy was originally created by Greensboro-based textile company Precision Fabrics Group Inc., in conjunction with Standard Textile Co. Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio, to help people with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. The companies suspected it may also reduce other skin conditions, such as pressure ulcers, and partnered with Cone Health to test the hypothesis.