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 created more problems for the user and reduced their pressure sore prevention effectiveness.
These 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.
Australian Standard AS4480.1 Wool pile specifications:
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:
This list 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:
There has not been a known case, to date, where the leather of Hitemp UR Medical Sheepskin products has failed due to washing, when the correct washing procedures have been used.
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).
|Without Sheepskin||With Sheepskin|
% Total Number of Patients
|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|
|% Total Number of Patients||52%||48%|
|Patients with Ulcers||37||21|
|% Group that developed Ulcers||16.6%||
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.
Australian Medical Sheepskins are now used extensively in Hospitals, Nursing Homes and private homes for the prevention and treatment of Pressure Sores, Bed Sores and Decubitus Ulcers.
Authentic Australian Medical Sheepskins and products derived from them are now available for public use and can be purchased from this web site.
All prices are in USD