We are pleased to announce that Dr. Brooke Jenkins, Dr. Rauhl Soangra, and Dr. Lynn Tierny were awarded the 2018 Interdiciplinary Research Grant for their proposal: Improving Quality of Care among Orange County Older Adults suffering from Bedsores.

Combining their expertise in physical posture, gerontology, and psychological pain perception, these faculty members will work together on a  1-year research project to assess the efficacy of the Smart-UP wearble device to intervene with pressure injuries in patient’s suffering from bedsore.

This Smart-UP device will facilitate patients to move/turn at appropriate time intervals so to prevent pressure injuries and stop further skin deterioration and pain. Seventeen older adults with stage I pressure ulcers and history of bedsores will participate in the study.

The objective is to optimize the frequency and direction for repositioning the at-risk patient and to establish a relationship between activity levels and pain ratings. Ultimately, the research could recast the clinical approach to prevent and treat bedsore and improve quality of life for older patients.

Students Michael Pollind, a Commputational and Data Science major, and Natasha Hikita, a Psychology major have been given the opportunity to participate in the project. They will perform a number of tasks to support the research including interact and design Arduino based solutions as per the needs of older patients in Orange County. The multidimensional intervention-based research and student learning approach will not only be a great educational experience but it will also help develop innovative thinking and problem-solving skills.

About 2.5 million people are affected by bedsores costing the US about $9.1-$11.6 billion per year. Bedsores are skin wounds that result from prolonged pressure on the skin that’s in contact with a bed or wheelchair. Bedsores or pressure injuries are painful, take a long time to heal and are often a precursor of life-threatening complications leading to morbidity and mortality in older adults. Orange County is home to over 3.1 million people and is the sixth most populous county in the US. It is expected that 25% of this population will be above the age of 65 years by 2040. It is important for Orange County to be able to respond to the health concerns of this rapidly growing population of older adults including the need to heal and prevent bedsores.