Smart-e-Pants – a New Tool to Prevent Pressure Ulcers
Project SMART’s very own Smart-e-pants pressure ulcer prevention underwear has been tested at the Glenrose and Allengray hospitals in Edmonton and soon at the Foothills hospital in Calgary. Pressure Ulcers are serious health complication that costs the Canadian health care system $3.5 billion annually; it is estimated that 80% of those confined to wheel chairs will develop a pressure ulcer. However, pressure ulcers are not only limited to those in wheel chairs, but anyone with mobility challenges, such as those who have suffered a stroke, or other neurological damage. Surprisingly, even with the advent of specialized pillows, mattresses and turning protocols in hospitals, the prevalence of pressure ulcers has remained unchanged since the 1940s. Project SMART’s Pressure Ulcer team has developed an undergarment that delivers an electrical stimulation to areas that are most susceptible to these ulcers to stimulate the muscles in these areas and simulate the ‘fidgeting’ that able bodied people do - this fidgeting is why able-bodied people do not develop pressure ulcers. The garment, dubbed Smart-e-Pants, is now in limited clinical demonstrations at the Glenrose and Allengray hospitals in Edmonton and at the Foothills hospital in Calgary. None of the study participants in these demonstrations have developed a pressure ulcer and the device. Clinical trials are in the planning stage.
See Smart-e-Pants in the news: