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Pressure ulcer is a severe threat for immobilized and peripheral neuropathic patients such as bed-ridden, elderly, and diabetics. Once developed, the complication of pressure ulcer causes pain, suffering, and longer hospitalization for the patients. Additionally, pressure ulcer management imposes a serious burden on the health care providers. The optimal strategy to deal with pressure ulcers is prevention. The current standard for prevention is to reposition at-risk patients every two hours. But, each patient has different needs based on overall vulnerability and damaged skin areas. A fixed schedule may either result in some patients getting ulcers, or nurses being overworked by turning some patients too frequently. In this paper, we present an efficient algorithm to find a repositioning schedule for bed- bound patients based on their risk of ulcer development. Our proposed algorithm uses data from a commercial pressure mat assembled on the bed's surface and provides a sequence of next positions and the time of repositioning for each patient. Our patient-specific turning schedule minimizes the overall cost of nursing staff involvement in repositioning the patients while simultaneously decreases the chance of pressure ulcer formation.
Date of Conference: 12-15 Nov. 2011