The cardiovascular and surgical intensive care units had the highest unit-acquired pressure injury rates at an institution. Patients in these units had multiple risk factors for pressure injuries. Various interventions had been used to minimize pressure injuries, with limited results.
To evaluate the effect of specialty linens on the rate of pressure injuries in high-risk patients. The specialty linen was a synthetic silklike fabric that addressed the microclimate surrounding the patient, with the purpose of minimizing friction, shear, moisture, and heat.
The specialty linen was tried on 24 beds in the cardiovascular intensive care unit and 20 beds in the surgical intensive care unit, including sheets, underpads, gowns, and pillow cases. Data obtained from a retrospective review of electronic health records were compared for 9 months before and 10 months after specialty linens were implemented.
Total unit-acquired pressure injury rates for both units combined declined from 7.7% (n = 166) before to 5.3% (n = 95) after the intervention. The intervention was associated with a significant reduction in posterior (coccyx, sacrum, back, buttock, heel, and spine) pressure injury rates, from 5.2% (n = 113) before to 2.8% (n = 51) after specialty linens were implemented (P < .001).
Addressing the microclimate, friction, and shear by using specialty linens reduces the number of posterior pressure injuries. The use of specialty linens in addition to standard techniques for preventing pressure injuries can help prevent pressure injuries from developing in high-risk patients in intensive care units.