The present invention relates to a dressing support of the kind defined in the preamble of the independent Claim directed to the dressing support.
The invention also relates to a foot bed in combination with the inventive dressing support, in accordance with the preamble of the independent Claim directed to the combination.
Diabetics are prone to skin sores, particularly on the underside or soles of their feet. Such sores do not heal easily, due to the poor circulation and the impaired activity of the sufferer. According to one conventional method, sores of this nature are healed by providing a relatively spacious shoe and placing in the shoe a foot bed which is generally complementary to the sole of the patient's foot. There is provided in the foot bed at the location of the sore a recess which can also accommodate a dressing placed over the sore on the patient's foot. The bandage/dressing and the sore are relieved of pressure, when the patient wears the correct treatment shoe. The patient is able to move freely while wearing the shoe, since only those parts of the foot that withstand load are subjected to pressure against the foot bed, whereas the dressing and the sore are subjected to no load at all. The dressing may have the form of a compress on which there may be applied some appropriate medicament and which is applied to the patient's foot over the sore and changed when necessary.
One problem with this solution is that patients are often of the opinion that a treatment shoe fitted with a foot bed is not particularly attractive aesthetically, and consequently prefer not to wear the shoe, and fail to take the trouble and the time to put the shoe on when indoors or when walking short distances or making short errands. Another problem is that on special occasions patients wear more attractive shoes which are not fitted with a pressure-relieving foot bed. As a result, the sore is subjected to pressure via the compress, therewith seriously impairing the healing process or delaying said process. The problem is accentuated, by the fact that diabetics normally have impaired tactility on the soles of their feet and consequently are unable to feel troublesome pain caused by pressure on the sore.
When changing a compress or dressing, another problem often resides in the failure to give the new compress the same size, thickness and positioning on the foot as the preceding compress, from which the foot bed is designed or modelled. There is consequently a risk that the sore will be subjected to load, since the shape and size of the compress do not coincide with the original form of the foot bed.
A further problem is that even when the compress is positioned correctly initially, this position can be disturbed when the foot is inserted into or removed from the foot bed placed in the treatment shoe.
Accordingly, one object of the invention is to eliminate these problems, either completely or partially.
A further object of the invention is to provide a dressing support that covers either part of the foot or the whole of the foot and that can be firmly adhered to the patient's foot and functions to relieve pressure on the sore even in the absence of a foot bed, and that the specially produced compress/dressing that fits in the support will always have the same size and shape. When changing the dressing support, it shall be replaced with a support of the same size and in accordance with indications placed precisely in accordance with the former compress/dressing so as to fit in the foot bed.
A further object of the invention is to provide a foot bed which is adapted to a patient's foot and which includes a recess corresponding to the dressing support.
These objects are achieved either totally or partially by means of the present invention.
The invention is defined in respective accompanying independent Claims.
Further embodiments of the invention are set forth in the accompanying dependent Claims.
A central part of the invention relates to a dressing support that can be used to relieve pressure on a sore or on a sensitive skin surface of a patient and also to firmly secure a dressing on the patient and to enable a compress/dressing to be changed while the dressing support is seated firmly on the patient, i.e. stuck to the patient's skin.
The dressing support can be applied to the underside of a patient's foot such as to prevent direct contact between the underlying foot supporting surface and a sore or a sensitive area on the underside of the foot. The dressing support suitably has the form of a resilient pressure-distributing sheet or strip of material that includes a through-penetrating opening in which a compress/dressing can be placed without serious danger of loading the surface that shall be relieved of pressure should the patient support his/her weight on the underlying surface via the dressing support. The foot bed can probably be excluded in certain instances, e.g. when the dressing support covers the whole of the underside of a patient's foot and includes one or more through-penetrating compress/dressing-accommodating openings.
It will be understood, however, that the inventive dressing support also finds use in the treatment of other skin areas or skin surfaces of a patient, where there is a risk of sores forming in local areas as a result of pressure, for instance bedsores, e.g. above the sacrum.
The dressing support is intended for one-time use only and basically has the form of sheet material (in different sizes and with different sized holes for compresses/dressings) e.g. a flexible pressure-distributing material (for example, gelatine material, polyurethane, EVA or like materials). The sheet is provided with a skin-friendly adhesive and is intended and designed to remain stuck to the patient over a continuous period of time of up to several weeks. If the support is removed, it cannot be replaced since otherwise the support might be wrongly positioned. The dressing support includes a through-penetrating opening for accommodating a compress/dressing and forms a spacing means which prevents the sore beneath the compress in the support opening from being subjected to pressure/load. A medicament can be applied locally to the compress/the dressing when necessary. The dressing constantly has the same shape and size and can be replaced via the opening in the support with the support stuck firmly to the patient.
The opening receiving the compress/dressing can be sealed with adhesive tape, for instance. The outer surface of the sheet-like support is preferably slippery so as to reduce the risk of the support being displaced by forces acting in the plane of the support. The side of the support that lies proximal to the underlying foot-supporting surface, e.g. the floor, may be provided with a stiff layer that distributes the load or pressure points and therewith reduces the risk of local pressures on the patient's foot sore. This layer will preferably be flexible so as to adapt to the shape of the surface area of the patient on which the dressing support shall be stuck.
By producing the dressing support in several standard designs, and by providing the support with graphic markings and constructing the support so that it can readily be brought to the correct size by cutting pieces from the dressing support, for instance whilst guided by said graphic markings, a fresh dressing support can be applied in a precisely correct position when changing the support, with the aid of markings provided on the body part to this end, and the size of the opening can be adjusted.
When the dressing support has been securely adhered to the underside of a patient's foot with the opening in the support positioned over a sore or a tactile area on the underside of the foot, a foot bed can be cast or moulded on a conventional way, with the foot and the applied dressing support as a model.
When the patient with the dressing support applied to his/her foot inserts his/her foot into the treatment shoe, the foot bed and the dressing support will together provide a comfortable support surface for the whole of the foot in the treatment shoe, with the exception of the opening in the dressing support.
In those cases when the dressing support covers the whole of the foot with pressure-relieving openings for sores or tactile skin areas, the adaptation of a normal shoe may suffice.
When the patient removes the treatment shoe, the dressing support carrying the dressing will remain on his/her foot, wherewith the dressing support will prevent direct contact between the walking surface and the sore as the patient walks without the treatment shoe/foot bed.
The fact that the exposed side of the dressing support is slippery reduces the risk of the support being disturbed on the foot of the wearer as he/she inserts her foot in or on to the foot bed in the treatment shoe.
When the foot to which the support is applied shall be inserted into a sock or stocking, the slippery outer surface of the support affords the advantage of reducing the risk of displacement of the support relative to the foot and also facilitates insertion of the foot carrying the support into the sock.
As will be understood, the foot bed may be formed on the basis of the foot to which a dressing support has been applied being clothed with a sock/stocking.
The slippery/smooth outer layer of the support may include one or more secondary openings, and the support may include a soft elastic rubber-like layer nearest the outer layer that includes said secondary openings. As load is exerted on the dressing support, parts of the rubber layer will penetrate plastically out through the secondary openings and therewith form anti-slip elements, which are particularly useful when a patient that has a dressing support applied to his/her foot walks on a slippery floor without wearing a sock or stocking.