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Published on July 06, 2012

Cone Health Pioneers Use of Fabric That Heals

Patients will soon have faster healing, fewer bed sores and spend less time in the hospital—and it is all because of the bed linen. That is the conclusion of three DermaTherapy® clinical trials conducted at Cone Health. Cone Health has become the first healthcare provider in the world to bring this breakthrough to patients.

The studies find that linens and gowns--often overlooked or thought of as housekeeping items—can be transformed into therapeutic tools when made with a smooth, antimicrobial fabric called DermaTherapy.DermaTherapy

The largest trial, conducted at Cone Health’s Wesley Long Hospital in Greensboro, N.C., took place from December 1, 2010 through May 30, 2011. Researchers found that patients using DermaTherapy developed 81.5 percent fewer bed sores (pressure ulcers) while in the hospital. Patients who were admitted with bedsores had a 21.0 percent reduction in wounds when discharged from the hospital, indicating that the linens promoted healing. Other study results found a 6.4 percent reduction in the length of time spent in the hospital by patients using the antimicrobial DermaTherapy product. The other two studies occurred at The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in 2008 and 2009.

The results were so compelling that Cone Health has put bed linens, gowns and bed pads made from this patented antimicrobial fabric into all of its hospitals. “This is an easy way to markedly improve the quality of care we are able to deliver to our patients,” says Dr. Mary Jo Cagle, Chief Quality Officer, Cone Health. “It is remarkable to be able to heal our patients faster and allow them to go home sooner because of the linens they rest on and the gowns they wear.”

Therapeutic linens also promise to reduce healthcare costs. In addition to fewer pressure ulcers and shorter hospital stays, DermaTherapy products require less energy to launder.

These therapeutic linens look like freshly pressed cotton but feel like fine silk. The fabric is smoother, drier and cleaner than the standard cotton blend used for hospital bedding and gowns. The smooth fabric reduces friction allowing the body to move easily across the bed, making it less likely that a patient’s weakened or moist skin could develop a pressure ulcer. The linens draw moisture away from the body faster and help patients regulate their skin temperature better. This promotes faster healing.

“It is hard to believe that the fabrics around a patient can improve the quality of care so much,” says Annette Smith, RN, Vice President of Nursing, Cone Health. “But they do. In fact, DermaTherapy items come back from the laundry with 92 percent fewer bacteria. That adds up to fewer new germs for a patient to battle and less time spent in the hospital.”

DermaTherapy was originally created by Greensboro-based textile company Precision Fabrics Group Inc., in conjunction with Standard Textile Co. Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio, to help people with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. The companies suspected it may also help reduce other skin conditions such as bedsores and partnered with Cone Health to test the hypothesis.

“Cone Health seeks to be a national leader in quality, service and cost in the delivery of healthcare to our patients,” says Tim Rice, CEO, Cone Health. “Breakthroughs such as DermaTherapy move us much closer to our goal.”