To recap, it is what I call the “silent” cause of wounds because unlike wounds caused from pressure or microclimate, it begins in the deep tissue layer and works its way upward to the surface of the skin. Before we can notice that there is a wound, the extensive damage is done without visual warning signs.
So it is CRITICAL that we understand when shear can happen in order to take necessary precautionary measures to prevent it.
Shear usually occurs:
- During transfers
- In sitting, while reaching
- In sitting, during weight shifts
- Repositioning in bed and in the chair
Unlike pressure, which we as an industry fight with the geometry of a cushion, we fight shear with a new technology called GlideWear®.
What is GlideWear® you ask?
- GlideWear® is a fabric applied to cushion covers, with a low co-efficient of friction, allowing the resident’s pelvis to move while reaching, weight shifting, repositioning and during transfers instead of fighting against that natural movement in order to reduce shear
- GlideWear® is strategically placed in the “Shear Reduction Zone” under the bony prominences where pressure is at its peak
- GlideWear® can be used to help prevent wounds or to aid in the healing of an existing wound
- GlideWear® is exclusive to Comfort Company cushions!
One common question is, “Well doesn’t the resident just slide out of the chair if it allows the pelvis to move?” The answer is NO and THAT is the beauty of GlideWear®!
Since the “Shear Reduction Zone”, which has a low co-efficient of friction, is surrounded by fabric that has a high co-efficient friction, called the “Stability Zone”, the Stability Zone will STOP the pelvis from sliding forward.
Through the geometry of the cushion we attack pressure and with GlideWear® we attack friction. And since by definition shear is a combination of pressure and friction, we have just solved how to fight SHEAR!
Hopefully this blog has provided some insight on the new technology available to you in your fight against shear. Now, when you get that referral for a cushion due to a wound, you will be able to confidently pick up that resident for therapy and are armed with a product proven to help prevent and heal that wound at any stage!
Ana Endsjo, MOTR/L, CLT
Clinical Education Manager LTC Division
Ana Endsjo has worked as an occupational therapist since 2001 in a variety of treatment settings. She has mainly worked with the geriatric population, dedicated to the betterment of the treatment of the elderly in LTC centers. Her focus has been on seating and positioning and contracture management of the nursing home resident. With this experience, her hope is to guide other therapists, rehab directors, nurses, and administrators through educational guides, blogs, webinars, and live courses in her role as Clinical Education Manager for the long term care division.