Dorothy’s Story…

A Client’s Perspective – the cared for…
“Select Medical helped to give me back the life I had before my accident.”
Dorothy – Age 75 Manchester (May 2015)


Back in 2009, Dorothy suffered a severe break to her right leg requiring surgery and a stay in hospital. It was during this stay, and prior to first using the Pure Air 172* seating system, that she acquired a Category IV pressure ulcer. As a result, Dorothy needed many months of complete bed rest. She was discharged from hospital and placed onto a dynamic mattress system where she spent all of her time. This prolonged period confined to her bed left Dorothy feeling dejected, unable to have a social life away from her room.

Dorothy’s main carer was, and still is, her daughter June who also helped with her mother’s everyday chores. Professional healthcare, administered by the local District Nursing team, included routine dressing changes to the sacral ulcer which, as Dorothy describes, “was not a pleasant experience.” Dorothy was clearly troubled with this chronic wound and so June decided something needed to be done.

Introduction to Pure Air 17²

On a trial basis, Dorothy was first placed onto the seat cushion in early 2010; her risk assessment score placed her at high risk and she was still suffering a Category IV pressure ulcer.

June had decided to look at what seating products she could find to help improve her mother’s life and an internet search for pressure cushions led her to the Select Medical website. The first step was to get Dorothy off bed rest as June explained: “I wanted to get mum up and out of bed. It was that simple. But I wanted to make sure she could do this safely and comfortably. After contacting Select and liaising with the customer help team, we tried the pressure cushion for a few weeks, before later deciding to buy it. We wanted to be sure it was going to be right for mum.”

The decision to take these careful steps and sit Dorothy out of bed was encouraged by our belief of linking Dorothy’s physical health and more general ‘well-being’ as vitally important to the overall care pathway.

Dorothy was slowly encouraged to spend a few short periods out of bed throughout the course of each day.

Gradually, the regime to sit Dorothy out for longer periods was extended over time. This was closely monitored to ensure the existing pressure ulcer was improving and that no other vulnerable areas were showing signs of pressure damage.

For over five years, a combination of good nursing care and the use of appropriate support surfaces including Pure Air 172 has helped keep Dorothy free of further pressure damage. The area of skin around the original Category IV ulcer is still professionally monitored given Dorthoy’s history of pressure damage, but the improvement has been excellent. Today she spends up to 14 hours each day out of bed, between her wheelchair and armchair. Daily use of the system has impacted positively on her everyday life, allowing for her to undertake some of her own household tasks and live an active social life.

Select Medical understands the welfare of the cared for relies not just on what happens in the body physically, in terms of the damage caused by a pressure ulcer, but also how this impacts on their psychological, emotional, social and spiritual state. Pure Air 172 undoubtedly played a key role in this positive step forward for Dorothy, where the system has been utilised both in the wheelchair and armchair. From a clinical perspective the outcome has proved decisively successful for the patient. Financially, the initial outlay for the system has delivered payback with continuous operation over many years. Consequently, the public purse has also benefited hugely by dramatically reducing the District Nursing time required to treat the wound.

*Pure Air 172 is the new name for ANSER

Mum is so much like her old self and has really benefited from having her independence back. Select have been brilliant; their support is first-class.
June, Daughter & Main Carer