New Duke Research to Study Optimal Repositioning Times

A new five-year study by the Duke University School of Nursing in Durham, N.C., will work to determine the ideal timing for repositioning patients to prevent pressure injuries.

In a Sept. 13 press release, Leaf Healthcare Inc., whose patient monitoring system will be used in the study, said pressure injuries, formerly known as pressure ulcers, affect up to 24 percent of patients in long-term care facilities and one in 10 hospitalized patients, at a cost of $11 billion annually in the United States.

The news announcement noted that researchers would study the current protocol of repositioning or moving patients once every two hours.

But the study’s lead investigator, Tracey L. Yap, RN, Ph.D., FAAN, an associate professor at Duke University School of Nursing, pointed out that the two-hour timetable is an old one.

“We need this information [to be provided by the study] to decide how to deliver the best prevention care realistically and safely,” Yap pointed out. “The standard patient turn protocol of two hours was originally set by Florence Nightingale. We are overdue to find updated ways to improve quality of life while reducing facility-acquired pressure ulcers and lowering healthcare costs.”

The National Institutes of Nursing Research, part of the National Institutes of Health, is funding the study.

During the study, researchers will examine differences in patients who are repositioned at two-hour, three-hour and four-hour intervals; costs to the healthcare system and to the patients; staff satisfaction with the different time intervals; and if using high-density foam mattresses impacts outcomes.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at

Mobility Management Podcast