Bedsores can be deadly for people on bed rest. Precision Fabrics and Standard Textile have combined to create DermaTherapy, a bed sheet that actually prevents bedsores. Originally Precision Fabrics tested a synthetic silk sheet to determine if a new fabric would wick away the moisture and heat of hot flashes to allow women going through menopause to sleep better. Then the sister of a Precision Fabrics corporate manager became ill with cancer and developed several bed sores. The manager “saw the ravage that they created, knew what we did and said, ‘We have to advance this technology.’ The product focus expanded from menopause and overall better, deeper sleep to an application in acute health care, long-term care and home healthcare. After 11 clinical trials at several hospitals showed incidences of pressure ulcers were reduced by 65 percent to 80 percent, the Food and Drug Administration certified DermaTherapy as a medical device in June of this year. It’s a first for a bed sheet, and it flips conventional thinking on its head: Instead of sheets and pads protecting the mattress, they protect the patient. What the company found during the trials is that so-called pressure ulcers aren’t caused by pressure at all but rather by what happens when moisture, friction and shear of bed linens interact with skin. The short fibers of cotton break down with use and become abrasive.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimate that hospital-acquired pressure ulcers add about $11 billion to the nation’s health care bill each year. CMS will not reimburse hospitals for treating bed sores since they are considered avoidable. These wounds generally occur on patients who are in frail health and can lead to rapid decline and death. Precision’s patented fabric has carbon channels and antimicrobial characteristics to reduce odor and static, and a treatment to repel stains. With the FDA approval, the company hopes that it can change the mindset of hospital and nursing home managers to view bed sheets as part of patients’ treatment rather than as housekeeping items.