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Archive February 2018 XIX, No. 2

New Positions on Positioning

What's new in AORN's 2018 patient positioning guidelines.

JoEllen McBride

JoEllen McBride, PhD


Happy Feet
HAPPY FEET A properly positioned patient is a happy one.

What's one thing that all surgical facilities are constantly trying to improve? If you said proper patient positioning for pressure injury prevention, then you nailed it — and probably need to get your tongue untwisted. Mary Fearon, MSN, RN, CNOR, one of AORN's perioperative practice specialists, takes a condensed look at 4 of the 22 new patient positioning recommendations you'll find in AORN's 2018 Guidelines for Perioperative Practice. If you're not already taking these preventive measures in your ORs, you might want to consider doing so.

Patient Positioning
FOOT REST A pillow alone may not be the best way to redistribute pressure on the heels.

1. Place pressure dressings over sacrum. Many studies document the usefulness of padded, prophylactic dressings to reduce pressure, sheer and friction on the regions of a patient's skin over bony body parts. While the new AORN recommendations suggest using the dressings over bony areas such as the sacrum, they caution against stacking multiple dressings on top of one another. If a dressing becomes damaged or worn, just replace it with a new one, says Ms. Fearon. Don't use the dressings in lieu of other positioning devices, but you can use them in tandem with other aids. Of course, you should consult the manufacturer's IFU to make sure the devices are compatible with pressure dressings.

Because there are many types of prophylactic dressings to choose from, AORN recommends assembling a team to determine which dressings best promote your facility's pressure injury prevention program. The team should include staff familiar with the different types of dressings and the effects the dressings have on the temperature and on the moisture of skin when applied, says Ms. Fearon.

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