Softening the Blow

Making a hard situation a little easier amidst long medical treatments

Four hours, three times a week is the average time frame for hemodialysis treatments, and given what is known about the length of time in which a pressure injury could develop, this could pose a serious problem.

Four hours, three times a week! According to the National Kidney Foundation, this is the average time frame for hemodialysis treatments. Chemotherapy treatments are similar in length, depending on the patient’s care plan. And, given what is known about the length of time in which a pressure injury could develop, this could pose a serious problem. 

The NPIAP categorizes individuals receiving renal replacement therapy as high risk for developing pressure injuries. Changes in tissue tolerance as a result of renal disease coupled with mobility limitations during treatments increase the likelihood of skin breakdown. Unfortunately, because of the nature of treatments, such as dialysis or chemotherapy, long periods of immobility are inevitable. While remaining in the same position for extended lengths of time can raise the risk of pressure injuries, it can also put undue stress on patients’ spines, generating debilitating discomfort. Patients already in compromised states are in need of relief and protection.

At Ease                                                                                                                                  

Discomfort is indicated by an unpleasant feeling resulting in a natural response to avoid the uncomfortable source. But patient’s receiving life-saving treatments just don’t have that option. Treatments are necessary, so pressure relief must be ready on demand. Surfaces, such as reactive air cushions and pads, are designed to ease the pressure, particularly over bony areas of the body. With immobility a factor, even the slightest pressure relief is important. And patients undergoing treatments spanning several months deserve to be comfortable during the process.

Prevention Disguised as Comfort                                                                                                 

But alleviating the discomfort is only half of the equation. Preventing pressure injuries in this vulnerable patient population is critical. Stop it before it starts. Surfaces need to offer comfort and provide pressure reduction and redistribution to really be effective. But the ideal support surface will also fit nicely into the treatment chairs. That’s a hefty order, but one without the other just won’t be as effective. Surfaces need to adapt!

Treatments such as dialysis or chemotherapy take their toll on the mind, body, and soul. It’s a lot for a patient to process. So, if one simple support surface can bring about a little peace, it’s certainly worth a shot. CLICK HERE for pressure injury prevention and comfort solutions flexible enough to fit anywhere!

https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/dialysisinfo

https://www.cancercenter.com/integrative-care/immobility

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31307870/#:~:text=Results%3A%20Discomfort%20can%20be%20physical,can%20be%20attributed%20to%20pai