Individuals with spinal cord injuries (SCI) are prone to pressure ulcers (PUs) because of the loss of sensorimotor function involved as well as increased skin moisture. Treatment of PU after SCI is complicated, involving different specialties and with need for long-lasting follow-up. This study should identify risk factors for PU after SCI, and find an effective and less time-consuming treatment for the condition among different available methods for follow-up.
The first part of this research project aims to investigate the prevalence of PU among persons with SCI based on an epidemiological design. The study will identify possible risk factors for acquiring PU. A questionnaire focusing on previous and present PUs will be sent to persons who suffered SCIs between January 2004 and January 2014. In the second part we will compare two different treatment regimens of PU through a randomized controlled pilot trial (RCT) where we will compare outpatient SCI follow-up in a hospital versus outpatient follow-up from the patient’s home, using telemedicine (teleSCI) interventions. We will compare the healing of the PU in the two groups (usual care versus teleSCI). The Tissue, Infection, Moisture Edge (TIME) registration form, the Photographic Wound Assessment Tool (PWAT) and the change in the ulcer size will be used to monitor the healing. Changes in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and the need for assistance will be assessed using the Five Dimensions European Quality of Life scale (EQ-5D), the generic Medical Outcomes Study 12-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-12) modified version, the International Spinal Cord Injury Quality of Life Data set (ISCI-QoL Data set), and the Spinal Cord Independence Measure scale, version III (SCIM III). In addition to primary outcome measures, a cost-benefit evaluation and an assessment of patient satisfaction and participation will be performed, using customized questionnaires.
The first part of the research project will reveal the epidemiology of PU after SCI, and explore the risk factors. This part enables further prevention of PU after SCI and this information will be used in the follow-up RCT. Videoconferencing in the outpatient follow-up of persons with SCI and PU will change clinical routines and facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration, communication and competence exchange among participants of the health care services. Our research protocol allows comparing methods for interaction between medical specialists at hospitals, local caregivers in the community, next of kin, and persons with SCI and PU. The RCT should identify advantages as well as challenges in the management of PU in different follow-up settings. This study aims to identify risk factors for PU after SCI, and find an effective and less time consuming treatment for the condition among different available methods for follow- up.
www.ClinicalTrials.gov, ID: NCT02800915, last update 9 October 2017.
The National Regional Ethical Committee (REC) 2014/ 684/ REK-Nord.
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