Australian Medical Sheepskin
What is a Medical Sheepskin?
Medical sheepskins are specially selected chrome tanned sheepskins that have a very high wool pile density and are machine washable. Specialised chrome tanning produces a sheepskin that is Urine Resistant and machine washable in hot water. These medical sheepskins are suitable for incontinent users. The wool is clipped to a fibre length of 30mm for maximum pressure reduction. Tanning is necessary to prevent the wool from detaching from the skin. Certified Australian Medical Sheepskins (AS4480-1 1998) have even more prescriptive properties; making them the best available.
Australian Medical Sheepskins and Medical Sheepskin products have been successful nursing aids for the prevention of pressure ulcers ( bed sores) since the early 1960’s. The value and comfort of Australian Medical Sheepskin products is derived from the springy 30mm pile ( about 1.25") of these specially tanned sheepskin hides. The high pile density ( number of fibres per square cm.) of soft, springy resilient wool fibres creates a cushion that distributes body weight and pressure over a large area. Each fibre acts as a "mini-spring" that will deform to a body contour; particularly at pressure points.
Unlike other fibres, wool can absorb moisture up to 33% of the wool weight; without feeling wet. The wool fibres wick moisture away from the skin, keeping it dry - an important consideration for bed sore prevention. The wool pile surface also reduces friction and skin tearing (due to shear forces); making Medical Sheepskins ideal overlays for people confined to a bed or wheelchair. Medical Sheepskin properties provide improved comfort for the patient and reduction in the primary causes of bedsores, pressure sores and decubitus ulcers:
- Skin Moisture
Medical sheepskins of the past have been used very effectively in the home environment, but were not generally used in hospitals. This was largely because many patients were incontinent and sheepskins did not hold up well in these circumstances. Similarly, disinfection was a problem, since sheepskins could only be washed in cold water.
Today, the deficiencies of previously available medical sheepskins have been remedied. As of 1998, a new standard of Medical Sheepskin was introduced in Australia. The CSIRO, in partnership with industry, developed new technologies that produced the : "Australian Medical Sheepskin ( Australian Standard AS 4480.1 1998)". Our HiTemp UR Australian Medical Sheepskins exceed this standard.
The Australian Medical Sheepskin Standard: AS4480.1 1998 = HiTemp UR Medical Sheepskin
This Standard specifies requirements for tanned sheepskins and lambskins that are used for health care, medical and institutional uses. They are used to minimize the incidence, severity and duration of pressure ulcers ( bedsores and decubitus ulcers) by decreasing friction, pressure and humidity at the points of contact between the patient and the bed or chair.
The tanning of leather is broadly defined as organic material chemically and permanently transformed to a non-putrescent, non reversible and durable material. At the end of the tanning process there are a number of chemical and physical tests undertaken. The first, simplest, and mostimportant is the boil test. Before the leather is unloaded from the tanning vessel, a measured square is boiled in a beaker for a given number of minutes, according to the type of skin being tanned. If, at the end of the allotted time, there is no shrinkage and the square hasn’t turned into a gelatinous blob, the leather is deemed tanned. In the case of the new Hi-Temp Australian Medical Sheepskin, other substances are added to the process to heighten the boil point thus ensuring the leather being tested is superior to the standard tanning process enabling it to be washed at high temperature to achieve thermal
Shear Comfort HiTemp UR Medical Sheepskins meet or exceed the Australian Medical Sheepskin Standard (AS4480.1 1998) and must have the following properties:
- well trimmed and pre-washed.
- homogeneous wool pile of uniform length and density, well-defined staple and crimp, straight to light curl in appearance, free from pilling and vegetable matter. Wool shall not be felted.
- leather is free from excessive natural fat and grease, free of faults, symmetrical. Can be further processed to give increased urine resistance and labelled accordingly. Leather shall not give off any pungent or rancid odour.
- HiTemp wool colour must be Medical Green.
- Wool fibre diameter shall be 26-34 µm and be 25- 30 mm long.
- Flatness- at all times, the product should lie flat on a horizontal surface with minimum curling around the edges.
- HiTemp Medical Sheepskins must have a minimum shrink temperature of 110o C and should not decrease more than 5 oC after 5 wash cycles.
- Must be colourfast.
Sheepskins are a natural product and are not all exactly the same. There is some small variation from one Australian Medical Sheepskin to another. However, all authentic Australian Medical Sheepskins conform to the above criteria.
There is very little scientific evidence that wool allergy exists. Allergies to wool are very rare and allergies due to dust mites and lanolin in the wool may be misinterpreted as wool allergies. Usually, wool responses are the pricking sensation caused by coarse wool - often experienced from the coarse wool used in sweaters. It is the ends of these coarse fibres that stick into you and cause the pricking response.
Authentic Australian Medical Sheepskins contain fine wool ( approx. 26 -34 microns) and the pricking sensation is not experienced while skin is in contact with the sheepskin. If there is a concern, we recommend covering the sheepskin with a sheet. These sheepskins are used extensively in hospitals throughout the world.
Some people are allergic to lanolin and others may be allergic to dust mites that could get into the pile. Because of this, we recommend the use of Woolskin for laundering- Woolskin will kill and remove dust mites and, at the same time, it will disinfect the fleece.
Australian Medical Sheepskins are now available in 2 tannage levels:
1. HiTemp UR Australian Medical Sheepskins:( M102) - Highest Quality: GREEN and the BEST available.
These specially selected very-fine wool sheepskins are chosen because of their very high pile density and wool characteristics. They have been specially tanned to enable washing up to 80 oC and drying up to 60 oC. These numbers are important for sheepskin and wool disinfection; an important consideration for clients who already have bed sores. The letters UR designate that the skin has increased resistance to urine; making them suitable for incontinent patients. Sheepskins without this UR stamp will break down in the presence of urine. Urine will cause the leather to crack and the wool will fall out. Use in the bed and wheelchair 24/7,all year; for maximum benefit.
HiTemp UR Australian Medical Sheepskins are FDA classified Medical Devices.
The FDA Classification is shown below.
2. Australian Medical Sheepskins- LowTemp wash (M101) - Excellent Value and Quality
These champagne coloured sheepskins are of exceptional quality, having a very soft 30 mm dense pile. They have been double chrome tanned to enable washing in warm water. Use Woolskin for washing , disinfecting and conditioning these sheepskins. The M101 is not Urine Resistant( UR) and is not recommended for incontinent clients. The Australian Medical Sheepskin (M101) is most effective when placed on the bed and in the wheelchair and used 24/7 all year.
HiTemp UR Medical Sheepskin. Stamp on HiTemp UR Medical Sheepskin
Comparison of Products used for Pressure Sore Prevention
|Sheepskin Type||Australian HiTemp UR Medical Sheepskin||Pressure Smart XD1900 Overlay||Australian Medical Sheepskin|
|BEST: Air Dry||BEST: Machine Dry||Excellent Quality|
|SKU||M102: Exceeds Australian Standard
|M102XD: Higher pile density than M102:
1900g/m2 Merino Wool
Wool has a softer feel or texture than the XD1900 product. Machine washable in Woolskin. Use warm to hot water. Dry in dryer until nearly dry. Finish drying on a drying rack.
Recommended for incontinent users.
30mm Merino pile
Machine washable in Woolskin. Dry in the dryer for easiest care. Do not overdry.
Use 24/7 in bed $ wheelchair.
Recommendent for incontinent users:
30 mm Merino pile
|Wash in cool -warm water. Spin dry in the washing machine. Dry on a drying rack with leather facing upward.
Large lambskins with very good pile density. Use 24/7 in bed and wheelchair.
Not Urine Resistant:
30 mm Merino wool pile
|Colour||Medical Green||Royal Blue||Champagne|
|Detergent||Wash in Woolskin||Wash in Woolskin||Wash in Woolskin|
|Size||Approx 26" x 38"
|26" x 40"
|Approx 26" x 40"
Click: Catalogue for more product information and to order.
Buying a HiTemp UR Medical Sheepskin means that you have the best available. It will give lasting bedsore prevention, and can be laundered safely ( up to 50 times during C.S.I.R.O laundry trials and more than 200 times when washed with Woolskin) to achieve the high level of disinfection demanded by hospital infection control standards.
Disinfection levels and washability is increased even more with the use of Woolskin: Sheepskin Shampoo & Woolwash. Woolskin conditions the sheepskin leather with continued use, while cleaning and disinfecting the wool.
HiTemp UR Medical Sheepskins protect the skin from pressure sores, bedsores and decubitus ulcers; adding comfort along with improved well-being to a person confined to a bed or wheelchair.