PURPOSE: To enhance the learner's competence with knowledge of forces that affect skin breakdown and available bed surface support selections to help reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers (PrUs).
TARGET AUDIENCE: This continuing education activity is intended for physicians and nurses with an interest in skin and wound care.
OBJECTIVES: After participating in this educational activity, the participant should be better able to:
1. Compare and contrast use of active and reactive support surfaces.
2. Relate pressure, friction, and shear forces to use of active and reactive support surfaces in prevention of PrUs.
3. Apply the principles learned from this activity in determining appropriate support surface selections for patients with various clinical scenarios.
ABSTRACT: The prevention and management of pressure ulcers, including support surface selection, are a primary focus of healthcare providers. This article discusses the forces contributing to pressure ulcer formation and explores choosing therapeutic support surface features based on the patient's clinical needs and on using the evidence-informed support surface algorithm and decision trees.