A multicenter prospective randomized clinical trial was undertaken to investigate the effectiveness of the Australian Medical Sheepskin (AMS) in the prevention of sacral pressure ulcers in somatic nursing home patients. Patients were randomized at admission and were then followed daily for 30 days. The experimental group received usual care plus an AMS as a layer on the mattress within ultimately 48 hours after admission; the control group received usual care only. Usual care was all the care that nursing wards normally applied for pressure ulcer prevention without any further standardization for this study. A total of 588 patients were randomized (293 control and 295 experimental group) and the data of 543 patients could be analyzed (272 from the control and 271 from the experimental group). The incidence of sacral pressure ulcers grade 1 or higher was significantly lower in the experimental group than in the control group (8.9% vs. 14.7%). In a multilevel analysis on the incidence of pressure ulcers adjusted for Braden risk score, age, and gender, it shows an odds ratio of 0.53 (95% confidence interval: 0.29-0.95), meaning a significant protective effect of the AMS. These results are in line with the results of two earlier trials on the AMS in hospital patients. The majority of patients in our trial that used an AMS rated it positively, but one-third found the sheepskin too warm. We conclude that the AMS is an effective aid in the prevention of sacral pressure ulcers in nursing home patients.
© 2010 by the Wound Healing Society.