Side2sideR: Innovative Equipment that Automatically Rotates Patients to Reduce Bedsores and Relieve a Care Provider’s Burden

5 February 2024

Corporate Communication and Alumni Relations Center (CCARC)

           Pressure injuries or bedsores are complications that have been posing problems to the Thai healthcare system for a long time, affecting both the patients and care providers. As the treatment is time-consuming and expensive, prevention is the best and most cost-effective way to deal with this issue. Narongrat Sawatikanon, a pharmacist at the Department of Rehabilitation, at the CMU Faculty of Medicine, has come up with Side2sideR, which is innovative equipment to help rotate patients at any time of the day, thus reducing bedsores as well as burdens on care providers.

           Caring for bedbound patients follows clear guidelines. For instance, to prevent bedsores, care providers turn the patient over every two hours, keeping the angle of the body under 30 degrees. The calcaneal tuberosity at the heel and the anklebone must not undergo pressure. Therefore, positioning the patient requires at least one or two people and it must be done consistently. However, as it is natural for people to forget, become tired, or to fall asleep, pressure injuries can occur. The Side2sideR innovation is designed to help prevent such incidents by using the principles of inflation, air storage, and deflation of an air mattress that will allow rotation of the patient from side to side, thus changing the pressure points on the skin that is in contact with the mattress. The airbags supporting the calves will relieve the pressure on the heels, making it suitable for bedbound patients, patients in the ICU, patients with paralysis, or elderly people incapable of rolling on their side by themselves. This equipment has passed the electrical standards of medical equipment classification and is now registered as medical equipment with the FDA (the Food and Drug Administration). The innovation is also protected by four CMU patents and has four published research articles, with ongoing clinical research collecting data in critical COVID-19 patients, for whom it has shown to be effective at preventing pressure injuries.

          Side2sideR’s application on patients in critical conditions has further highlighted its utility in helping coma patients who rely on others to reposition their bodies. It can also be useful in cases of contagious patients requiring standard precautions and physical distancing such as patients with drug-resistant infections or patients with COVID-19. This equipment is compatible with existing hospital beds and does not require any changes. It can be set up to automatically rotate the patient consistently at any time of the day, thus taking that responsibility off of nurses, who are already tasked with numerous responsibilities. Rotating the patient using Side2sideR reduces pressure on the patient’s tailbone, transferring it to the hip muscles which have better circulation and thus helps to prevent pressure injuries. This will allow nurses to have better focus and performance in monitoring the critical conditions of their patients and be able to give consistent reports to the physicians, leading to a patient’s overall safety, without the added concern of pressure injuries, which thanks to this innovation, have shown to be preventable.