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The University of Southampton
Fundamental Care and Safety

Skin Health

Our research focuses on strategies designed to maintain skin health and, in particular prevent pressure ulcers, a condition which afflicts all ages of the population, reducing Quality and Life and representing both a Patient Safety issue and a major financial burden on the health services.  

Skin Health Theme
Skin Health

The research led by Dan Bader spans basic laboratory testing on physical models to device evaluation using a range of subjects from volunteers across a wider age range to patients considered at risk of developing pressure ulcers.

It is facilitated by developing reliable testing protocols (Peter Worsley) conducted in state-of-art facilities based in the Clinical Academic Facility.

Our ultimate goals are to establish robust parameters which indicate the status of loaded tissues, based on an array of biomechanical, biophysical and microclimate measurements, in conjunction with biomarkers, to identify early sign of soft tissue damage.

We currently lead an EPSRC/NIHR-funded Network on Medical devices and Vulnerable Skin, with continuing funding under the NetworkPLUS scheme until 2019. This Network is designed to promote novel designs of functional devices incorporating matched materials and manufacturing capabilities, that can be used for prolonged periods with minimal damage to vulnerable tissues. Examples of our current projects include the assessment of respiratory face masks used for both adults and paediatric patients in intensive care units and the evaluation of pressure redistribution support surfaces. This activity requires collaboration with clinicians, academics and the healthcare industry. Notable partners include King’s College London (Grocott and Sinkus) and University of Nottingham (Morgan) and NIHR Health Technology Co-operatives, WoundTec and Devices for Dignity.

Further bioengineering approaches are designed to monitor both shape changes and loading conditions at the interface between the stump and socket of lower-limb amputees. This research is in collaboration with academic colleagues in Engineering (Liudi Jiang and Alex Dickinson).

Our research also focuses on the effects of moisture, in particular incontinence, on skin health. This research is designed to develop ways to measure skin barrier function on a range of subjects from volunteers to patients and assess different intervention strategies (David Voegeli).

Further research is directed toward adopting a multidisciplinary approach involving all healthcare professionals to maintenance of skin health both in hospital and community setting.

The recent professorial appointment of Lisette Schoonhoven, the current President of the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP), has galvanised our efforts to evaluate interventions for skin health promotion in clinical practice and develop and evaluate strategies for implementation of effective skin health promotion.

30 October 2018

Institute of Physics and Engineering in Me...

The trustees of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicin...

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16 October 2018

Medical Devices and Vulnerable SkinPLUS an...

We are delighted to announce that Professors Dan Bader and Lisette ...

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28 June 2018

Dr Peter Worsley Awarded Novice Investigat...

Dr Worsley, Lecturer within Health Sciences Faculty and Co-Investig...

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