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Nov 22, 2013

Be aware - not all sheepskins are equal! Not even all Australian sheepskins are equal.

To learn how to recognise the BEST sheepskins:

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Australian Medical Sheepskin

 

Medical Sheepskins have been produced in Australia for a very long time. They have been used extensively in Hospitals and Nursing Homes with a lot of success. However, one problem led to their decrease in popularity- after washing many sheepskins developed a leather hardening. This leather hardening reduced the effectiveness of these Medical Sheepskins.

 

This and other problems were solved with the introduction of the: " Australian Medical Sheepskin AS4480.1 1998". This Medical Sheepskin was developed by scientists at CSIRO ( Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation)..the leading research institute in Australia. With the leadership of Dr Ken Montgomery, the Australian Standard AS4480.1 was developed. This standard prescribes specifications for the wool pile and leather substrate.

Wool pile specifications:

  • fibre diameter from 26 - 34 microns ( Micro-metres)
  • Pile height should be minimum of 25 mm in a washed state
  • uniform wool-pile density- visual appearance
  • wool dye colour - green- specified by the Pantone Matching System
  • wool dye fastness

Leather Specifications:

  • Degree of tannage: Hitemp - minimum shrinkage temperature 110 degrees celsius
  • Maintence of shrinkage temperature following washing & drying. Shrinkage temperature shall not decrease by more than 5 degrees Celsius after five appropriate wash and dry cycles

Some chemicals routinely used in laundries are detrimental to chrome tanned leather. The following should never be used for laundering Australian Medical Sheepskins and Australian Medical Sheepskin Products:

  • Enzymes
  • Phosphates
  • Peroxide
  • Alkali
  • Bleach
  • Triethanolamine
  • Sequestering Agents

This list later led to the development of Woolskin.the cleaning and conditioning agent developed specifically for the laundering of Australian Medical Sheepskin. Washing and disinfection of Sheepskin is now possible with the use of Woolskin for laundering..

The Australian Standard contains criteria that must be met before the compliance label is fixed on the leather. This label guarantees that the tanners have complied with the Australian Standard AS4480.1 The CSIRO Leather Research Centre coordinates testing for tanners.

 

Laundering of Medical Sheepskins is considered to be the critical issue in the use of Medical Sheepskins for Pressure Sore, Bedsore and Decubitus Ulcer Prevention. The 2 greatest risks are:

  • Incorrect chemicals being accidentally added to the wash process
  • Excessive temperatures during laundry procedures.

There has not been a know case, to date, where the leather of Hitemp UR Medical Sheepskin products has failed due to washing, when the correct washing procedure has been used.

 

All of this proves that when you purchase an Australian Medical Sheepskin or an Australian Medical Sheepskin product, you will receive the best Medical Sheepskin available anywhere. These sheepskins all share the same properties and have been proven effective in reducing the possibility of a client getting Pressure Sores.

Random Controlled Trials

Randomised Controlled Trials (RCT's) provide the level of clinical evidence needed to prove the effectiveness of an item or treatment. In these trials, two groups are compared. In the case of Australian Medical Sheepskins, two groups were compared- one which used the Australian Medical Sheepskin on a standard hosptital sheet and mattress- the Experimental Group, the other used just the standard sheet and mattress- the Control Group. Three studies provided the data- one at the Fremantle Hospital, the others at Hollywood Private Hospital in Western Australia and the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Melbourne ( Victoria).

Results from the Western Australian trials are shown below:

 

Without Sheepskin With Sheepskin
Patients Numbers 142
155

% Total Number of Patients

48% 52%
Patients with Ulcers
43 14
% Group that developed Ulcers
30.3% 9.0%

 

Results from the largest study done to date, at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, are shown below:

 


Without Sheepskin With Sheepskin
Patients Numbers

223

218
% Total Number of Patients 52% 48%
Patients with Ulcers
37 21
% Group that developed Ulcers
16.6%

 

9.6%

 

 

All 4 studies showed that there was a significant reduction in the development of pressure ulcers when an Australian Medical Sheepskin overlay was used. Since these studies were completed, Australian Medical Sheepskins have been accepted world-wide.

They are now used extensively in Hospitals, Nursing Homes and private homes for the prevention and treatment of Pressure Sores, Bed Sores and decubitus Ulcers.

 

Research papers:

  • Preventing pressure ulcers with the Australian Medical Sheepskin: an open-label randomised controlled trial.

Damien J Jolley, Robyn Wright, Sunita McGowan, Mark B Hickey, Kenneth C Montgomery, Don A Campbell and Rodney D Sinclair
Med J Aust 2004; 180 (7): 324-327.

https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2004/180/7/preventing-pressure-ulcers-australian-medical-sheepskin-open-label-randomised

  • Mistiaen, P.J., Jolley, D.J., McGowan, S., Hickey, M.B., Spreeuwenberg, P., Francke, A.L. A multilevel analysis of three randomised controlled trials of the Australian Medical Sheepskin in the prevention of sacral pressure ulcers. Medical Journal of Australia: 2010, 193(11/12), 638-641

https://www.mja.com.au/system/files/issues/193.../mis10295_fm.pdf


 

Australian Medical Sheepskin Products:

These Australian Medical Sheepskins and products derived from them are now available for public use and can be purchased from this web site.

  • The original Australian Medical Sheepskin Overlay (M102) is HiTemp wash and UR or Urine Resistant. These are the only sheepskins suitable for use by incontinent clients. They are large enough to protect from the shopulders to below the buttocks..approx: 28" X 38"- natural shape.