1 Recommendations

1.1 SEM Scanner 200 shows promise for preventing pressure ulcers. However, there is not enough good-quality evidence to support the case for routine adoption in the NHS.

Research is recommended to address uncertainties about the clinical benefits of using SEM Scanner 200 compared with standard risk assessment. This should assess:

  • the risk of pressure ulcer formation using SEM scanner without visual skin assessment compared with visual skin assessment alone

  • how changes in clinical decision making from using the scanner lead to reductions in the incidence of pressure ulcers

  • the clinical benefits and resource impact of using the scanner in different care settings

  • the clinical benefits for different skin tones

  • how well the scanner works across populations with a range of comorbidities

  • patient-related outcome measures.

Why the committee made these recommendations

The SEM Scanner 200 is a device that measures differences in moisture deep under the skin of the heels and the area around the base of the spine (sacrum). Inflammation occurs when tissue is damaged. Increased moisture under the skin is thought to reflect inflammation and may indicate an increased risk of pressure ulcer formation. Using the SEM Scanner 200 could mean that measures to prevent pressure ulcers can be taken before visible or tactile signs of tissue damage develop.

SEM Scanner 200 was used with standard care in studies looking at its effect on pressure ulcer incidence. This makes it difficult to distinguish between the effect of SEM Scanner 200 alone and that of increased awareness of preventing pressure ulcers. Also, standard care is poorly described in the studies. More evidence is needed on how using the SEM Scanner 200 affects clinical decision making and whether this benefits patients.