Objectives To evaluate the impact of low-friction (LF) bedding on graft loss in an acute burn care setting, and to examine the feasibility and costs of using LF bedding compared with standard care. Design Proof of concept before and after study with feasibility of delivering the intervention. Setting Three burns services within two UK hospital trusts. Participants Inclusion criteria were patients older than 4 weeks, who received a skin graft after burn injury and were admitted overnight. The comparator cohort were eligible patients admitted in a 12-month period before the intervention. Intervention Introduction of LF sheets and pillowcases during a 15-month period. Outcome measures For proof of concept, the LF and comparator cohorts were compared in terms of number of regrafting operations (primary), percentage graft loss, hospital length of stay (LoS) and LoS cost (secondary). Feasibility outcomes were practicality and safety of using LF bedding. Results 131 patients were eligible for the LF cohort and 90 patients for the comparator cohort. Although the primary outcome of the proportion needing regrafting was halved in the LF cohort, the confidence interval (CI) crossed 1 (OR (95% CI): 0.56 (0.16 to 1.88)). Partial graft loss (any loss) was significantly reduced in the LF cohort (OR (95% CI): 0.27 (0.14, 0.51)). Inpatient LoS was no different between the two cohorts (difference in median days (95% CI): 0 (-2 to 1)), and the estimated difference in LoS cost was $-1139 (-4829 to 2551). Practical issues were easily resolved, and no safety incidents occurred while patients were nursed on LF bedding. Conclusions LF bedding is safe to use in burned patients with skin grafts and we have shown proof of concept for the intervention. Further economic modelling is required to see if an appropriately powered randomised control trial would be worthwhile or if roll out across the National Health Service is justified.
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- burn injuries
- graft loss
- low friction
- skin grafting