New technology from Mid Sweden University will counteract pressure ulcers in healthcare

Tue 09 May 2023 11:43

With the help of sensors in mattresses, staff will be informed about the risk of pressure and bedsores – before they occur. In this way, the suffering of tens of thousands of patients can be reduced every year and billions saved for healthcare.

Två bilder: En man med glasögon och ljusblå skjorta samt tryckt elektronik.
Johan Sidén and printed pressure sensors.

According to a survey conducted by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, SKR, in 2021, the problems with pressure and bedsores cost healthcare billions every year. Not to mention that tens of thousands of patients, mainly in elderly and inpatient care, suffer greatly.

With the help of sensor technology in mattresses, developed at Mid Sweden University, pressure ulcers can now be counteracted. During the year, the technology will be developed and later tested at nursing homes in Sundsvall and Örnsköldsvik. Johan Sidén, Associate Professor of Electronics at the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering, has been involved in developing the technology.

Tell us – how does this technology work?

– In the mattress on which the user lies there are a number of scattered pressure sensors. The sensors are manufactured with technology for printed electronics that is very cost-effective, they are manufactured in a conventional printing process. With electrically conductive ink, we print sensor elements the size of a penny, which are then laminated into a mattress. The electronics detect and log pressure distribution over time and warn when it is believed that there is a risk of pressure ulcers occurring.

What can this mean for both healthcare professionals and users?

– For the care recipient, this means a lower risk of pressure ulcers, which are extremely painful and take a long time to treat. For the staff, who today monitor this visually and try to make assessments and remember how the care recipient is located, it is a help and relief.

Are there other areas in which the pressure sensors might work?

– I think that in the long run it could involve, for example, office chairs, technology can then point out when you have sat still for too long. This started as a development project together with Permobil, but on a much smaller scale, so it also works in cushions on wheelchairs.

How far away are pressure sensors from being introduced in nursing homes?

– The sensor system will now be developed and tested until the project is completed in autumn 2024. Then there will be fully developed prototypes in nursing homes that have been tested and evaluated. Then we hand over to the business community and the public sector.

More about the project that started with Permobil

News about the pressure sensors in Sverige Radio


The page was updated 5/9/2023