hospital-acquired pressure injury, intervention, long-wave infrared thermography, LTACH, present on admission, skin assessment



  1. Holster, Mindy AAS, RRT, HACP-CMS


OBJECTIVE: Hospital-acquired pressure injuries (HAPIs) have been increasing nationally, and unfortunately, long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs) continue to report the highest prevalence and incidence.1,2 To help reduce HAPI rates and to increase healing rates of all pressure injuries (PIs), including those that are present on admission, a 23-bed LTACH implemented a HAPI prevention and treatment protocol using new technology as a tool for patient skin assessments.


METHODS: A 75-day evaluation using long-wave infrared thermography (LWIT) was conducted for all patients admitted to the facility in conjunction with new PI treatment and prevention bundles that were created by the skin care team. Every PI was imaged using LWIT, which provided a photographic image of the PI, as well as a thermal image of the subcutaneous tissue underneath. This enabled staff to implement treatment and prevention measures as soon as possible.


RESULTS: After the 75-day evaluation, the LTACH decided to make LWIT a permanent tool in their HAPI treatment and prevention program. For 10 months, the LTACH sustained a zero HAPI rate using the new treatment and prevention program including LWIT.


CONCLUSIONS: The LTACH demonstrated that LWIT technology was an invaluable tool in the prevention and treatment of PIs. The use of LWIT has become common practice in this facility. The LTACH facility maintained a zero HAPI rate for 10 months after implementation of LWIT.