Pressure ulcers are one of the biggest problems in terms of patient clinical safety, and more than 6.5 million patients worldwide develop this clinical condition. The new paradigm of PU treatment and prevention including the development of both conventional and clinical-based healthcare technologies solutions. The proposed solution will add an innovative concept of the structural and design systems for the monitoring and detection of critical areas of PU development.
Decreasing the occurrence of pressure ulcers (PUs) is one of the greatest challenges of acute and long-term healthcare services. One of the major risk factors for PU development is reduced mobility. In this context, evolution to more severe stages increases public health expenditures, reduces the quality of life and well-being of the individuals, and also increases the burden on health professionals.
The 4NoPressure project aims to develop a new type of intelligent clothing for bedridden persons or for those with severe mobility limitations. The final product is meant to be used either in an acute context (e.g., hospital) or at home, being capable of 1) Reducing the occurrence of clinical conditions for the development of PUs, having a preventive and therapeutic action; 2) Prevent the occurrence of infections, which result from the condition of the PUs; 3) Monitoring the status of persons at high risk of developing PUs (temperature, shear, friction, humidity), and 4) Improving the person’s quality of life.
The solution consists of a new concept of a structural and system design which aims for a greater ergonomic comfort. In parallel, new materials and architectures will be investigated at the level of the interface fibrous system that will be developed, providing greater relief of the exerted pressure, and thermophysiological control of the microclimate of the skin.
At the level of infection control, technology based on photocatalytic nanomaterials will be developed to generate long-term antimicrobial protection. This technology will also be investigated in conjunction with the fibrous system. To control the person’s condition, namely, in a critical state (e.g., intensive care), the project aims the research and development of an integrated clothing solution, incorporating a unified matrix of sensors, for the monitoring and detection of critical areas of PU development.
The project brings together a consortium with experience and complementary skills, namely the leading company IMPETUS, the University of Minho, the Iberian Institute of Nanotechnology, and the Nursing School of Coimbra. The project will contribute to the diversification of the company’s portfolio, and will also improve the segment of technical and functional textiles for the healthcare sector, contributing to its diffusion into new market segments. Altogether, the project will contribute to the consolidation and strength of the company’s market position in which it already operates.