Although all healthcare facilities have, and frequently update, systems for identifying and preventing medical device-related pressure ulcers, new techniques for reducing some of the most common sources of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers are welcomed.
Pressure ulcers can cause extreme discomfort to the patient and often lead to serious, life threatening infections, which significantly increase the total cost of care. Medical device-related pressure ulcers (MDRPU) have been the subject of increasing healthcare facility attention as the overall rate of pressure ulcers has dropped. Of the total pressure ulcer incidents, nearly one-third are related to medical devices, and of those approximately 70 percent are on the head, face and neck. Devices for oxygen delivery and airway management have the highest reported incidence of pressure ulcers (13 – 47 percent), including lip ulcers from the tape used to secure the tubing, and ulcers on the face and ears from tightening up the cannula to prevent dislodgement.
It has been estimated that each pressure ulcer treatment costs hospitals between $2,000 and $40,000 and an additional increase in the overall cost of the hospital care of $17,000. Because hospital acquired pressure ulcers have been classified by Medicare since 2008 as a preventable condition and are no longer reimbursable, considerable effort has gone toward the development of prevention and identification of the development of MDRPU, especially MDRPU related to nasal cannula. Unfortunately, the majority of these programs rely in large part on frequent patient observation and the use of additional equipment modifications such as padding.
Little has been done to directly reduce the initiating cause of pressure ulcers induced by nasal cannula and associated oxygen tubing – until now.
Uni-flo2 Single-nasal Cannula System (Uni-flo2) offers anergonomic design that reduces skin contact and resulting friction for patients receiving low flow oxygen, thereby reducing the possibility of nasal tubing irritation-related pressure ulcers and resulting infections caused by dual-pronged cannulas. The device was engineered with patient comfort in mind. In fact, a clinical study found that 98 percent of patients preferred this new product to the outdated dual-prong cannula.
Why is Uni-flo2 Better?
Uni-flo2single nasal cannula oxygen tubing can rest alternate to either side of the face, so the softer tubing comes in contact with only half as much skin. The Uni-flo2 can also be changed to alternate sides of the face to reduce constant contact. In addition, when properly placed, the Uni-flo2 cannula does not rest on the upper lip and "floats" above the facial contours during daily activities. Further, the Uni-flo2 utilizes a multi-point strain relief system which allows for secure placement without relying on tightening of the tubing over the ears and beneath the chin. All of these features work together to greatly reduce the irritation and discomfort associated with oxygen therapy and dual prong cannula use. As a result, there is less potential for the pressure ulcers and infections that drive up costs for oxygen therapy patients and facilities alike.
Dr. Robert Parr, a retired emergency medicine specialist who endorses the use of Uni-flo2 for a variety of patients, says, “As a single cannula device, Uni-flo2 not only solves multiple problems for healthcare providers, but also restores dignity to individuals who require long-term supplemental oxygen.”
Uni-flo2 is more cost-effective for facilities, visually more appealing than the dual-prong cannula -- no more intrusive than a Bluetooth device -- and bolsters patients’ confidence. Dr. Parr believes Uni-flo2 could become “the standard of care” across the healthcare industry. It is the newest tool in the fight to reduce hospital acquired pressure ulcers.