January 2014 | White Paper

In a hospital or any type of care facility it is very difficult to move or reposition a patient in a bed. The reason for this is that there is a high amount of friction between a patient and a mattress. The higher the friction, the more force it takes a caregiver to move the patient. To lower the friction, it is common practice to use a friction reducing device (FRD) under the patient. FRDs have a low coefficient of friction (COF). COF is a calculated constant defined as the force required to move two sliding surfaces over each other, divided by the force holding them together.

When reusable FRDs are new and in an unwashed condition, their COF is very low which is favorable. But, after laundry the COF increases and the force required to move a patient increases because the silicone is depleted progressively with each washing and drying cycle. Information about the amount of increase in COF with each washing cycle is not known. Manufacturers of reusable FRDs do not discuss this issue in their literature and this is concerning because the main purpose of a FRD is to reduce friction.

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