Many people find it difficult, sometimes impossible, to move themselves about in bed. When it’s difficult, it can be frustrating, painful and disruptive to sleep. When it’s impossible, assistance must be provided to prevent serious complications such as bed sores. Slider sheets were developed to reduce the risk of overexertion injury experienced by caregivers performing this physically demanding, hazardous work. When the first sliders hit the market some 25 years ago, I was excited to think these might be the answer to this global problem. However, many nurses found that the time and handling required was impractical. Click here to view how slider sheets are used:
Instead, our local nurses wanted sheets that could stay on the bed, ready for use at any time. This resulted in the development of a friction-reducing fitted sheet and draw-sheet. This combination was successful in reducing injury rates and costs. The full research project can be found in the journal Nursing Research Sept/Oct Vol 60. No 5. 302-308.
Known as a slider sheet system for its variety of options, there were still some features needing improvement.
Building on lessons learned – an evolving new concept: A next generation slider system – known as Comfort Linen – would address the shortcomings of other friction-reducing aids and the finer points of functional bed mobility. These include:
Problem: Designed for caregiver safety, slider sheets gave little opportunity for patients to move themselves because they were removed following each reposition.
Correction: Redesign to enhance both caregiver safety and/ or patient mobility.
Problem: Downward sliding was excessive while lateral sliding for turns was often insufficient.
Correction: Change orientation of fabric grain from longitudinal to lateral.
Problem: Additional textile layers detract from potential benefits of specialty mattresses.
Correction: Substitute the regular hospital sheet, gown and under-pad with an integrated system consisting of the same items, adding no layers. The sheet, garment and under-pad now comprise the new concept in friction-reducing mobility aids suited to all levels of patient ability all care environments.
Problem: Stay-in-place slider sheets were limited to hospital bed size only. Patients asking to purchase slider sheets as a mobility aid at home were disappointed
Correction: Make sheets in all bed sizes.
Problem: The sheet/ garment combination provides no handhold for caregivers assisting dependent patients who are also often incontinent and need an under-pad for bed protection. Further, safety bulletins warned against using under-pads for repositioning because of its high friction interface.
Correction: Design under-pads to serve as a handhold and to reduce friction.
Problem: Workload burden on caregivers.
Correction: Enable patients to do more for themselves thereby extending independence and creating a win-win scenario!
An elegant, yet simple, redesign of bedding has allowed many users to enjoy a new-found sense of freedom and comfort. Bedding that is virtually friction-free not only makes repositioning smoother and easier, many users report better sleep! Stay tuned for my next blog that discusses fascinating new sleep research, why getting enough sleep is critically important and how engineered textiles – Comfort Linen – can help!!