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The Effects of Hydrotherapy on Pressure Ulcers

In actuality, effects of hydrotherapy on pressure ulcers are subjects to detailed studies from the part of researchers. In spite of seeming extensive information on the effects of hydrotherapy on pressure ulcers, there are still researchers, who attempt to introduce new methods and improve the effectiveness of hydrotherapy. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the study conducted by Burke and other researchers, which involved the use of conservative and innovative method of using hydrotherapy in the treatment of pressure ulcers.

The main purpose of the study was to study the effects and application of hydrotherapy in relation to pressure ulcers. The researchers have stressed the fact that pressure ulcers are a prevalent and potentially serious medical problem encountered in both the medical and rehabilitation settings. At the same time, the progress of rehabilitation is often interrupted by the presence of pressure ulcers, the efficient care of these wounds is of great interest to the rehabilitation team. In such a situation, the researchers focused on the comparison of the conservative method and the new method based on the combination of the conservative treatment and the use of whirlpool in terms of hydrotherapy to check the extent to which the new method can improve the effectiveness of hydrotherapy in the treatment of pressure ulcers.

Before conducting the study, the researchers conducted the literature review with the help of which they revealed the fact that the problem of using hydrotherapy is under-researched. To put it more precisely, the authors identified the existing gap in knowledge contrasting conservative practice, which is well-researched and new approaches to hydrotherapy and its effects on pressure ulcers, using such methods as whirlpool in addition to conservative technique. In such a way, they attempted to close the existing gap in studies.

The research design was effective and the methodology was properly applied by the researchers. The authors described patients in details but avoiding giving names of patients. The authors attempted to involve diverse subjects of different age, gender and social background but all of them had pressure ulcers and, therefore, their health problems were similar. However, the researchers could have presented more diverse population and create a control group. What is meant here is the fact that the population involved in the study could have different stages of the development of the disease, namely Stage III and IV but the researchers failed to investigate the impact of hydrotherapy and its different applications on patients with other stages of the disease could be helpful in terms of better understanding of the impact of the disease on patients.

Patients in two acute care facilities with Stage III or IV pressure ulcers were identified and consented to participate in the study. All wounds were mechanically debrided of necrotic tissue, and then the patients were randomly assigned to the conservative treatment group (A; n = 18) or the conservative treatment plus whirlpool group (B; n = 24). Conservative treatment included measures to maximize pressure relief and wound care with wet-to-wet dressings using normal saline. The dressings were changed twice daily and when they became soiled. Whirlpool was administered for 20 min per day in Group B patients (Burke et al., 395).

Ethical issues were taken into consideration. The researchers preserved confidentiality of patients. All the subjects involved in the study remained anonymous. The informed consent was obtained and patients were aware of their involvement in the study. The control of the experiment was poorly organized for the researcher contrasted two groups only, the one was the group, where the conservative treatment was used, and the other was the group, where the conservative treatment was backed up with the use of whirlpool method.

Outcomes of the study were measured carefully. First, at the pre stage, the subjects of the study were identified and their wounds were described and mechanically debrided of the necrotic tissue. The inter stage involved the observation being made in the course of the experiment, when one randomly selected group received the conservative treatment using hydrotherapy methods, whereas another randomly selected group received conservative treatment plus whirlpool. After the experiment both groups were measured and the researchers compared the results of each group to assess the effectiveness of the conservative treatment and the treatment using conservative treatment backed up with whirlpool.

The intervention of the researchers in the treatment was minimal. They just set conditions of the treatment, which were followed strictly in the course of the experiment in terms of two weeks. All patients gave their consent to participate in the experiment.The results of the study revealed the fact that only those patients whose ulcers were followed-up for 2 or more wk were included in the study (Burke et al., 396). Ulcers were then measured by a physician who was blinded as to the treatment groups. Ulcer dimension changes over time were compared between groups. The results indicate that the conservative treatment plus whirlpool group improved at a significantly faster rate than did the conservative treatment only group (Burke et al., 397). In such a way, the researchers have revealed substantial differences between two groups of patients. The findings of the study are important in terms of the treatment of pressure ulcers because the use of conservative treatment with the help of hydrotherapy can be enhanced due to the use of the whirlpool method suggested and tested by the researchers. The results of the study are reliable and valid. The researchers analyzed the limitations of the study and took them into consideration while making their conclusions. At the same time, the authors conducted the statistical analysis and checked the correctness and validity of their results using t-test.

Conclusions made by the authors naturally derive from the results of their study. To put it more precisely, the researchers insist that the conservative application of hydrotherapy could be more effective with the application of the whirlpool method used in the experiment conducted by the researchers. They support their findings and conclusions with statistical information collected in the course of the study. The conclusions made by the researchers are accurate and logical. At the same time, the authors could pay more attention to prospects of their findings. What is meant here is the fact that their findings could give insights towards new researches in this field but the researchers failed to provide adequate implications for further studies that could be conducted in the future. However, the study conducted by Burke and other researchers open new prospects for the effective treatment of pressure ulcers because it opens the way to a more effective use of hydrotherapy compared to the conservative method applied at the moment.

Works Cited:

Burke, D.T. et al. “Effect of Hydrotherapy on Pressure Ulcer Healing.” Am. J. Phys. Med. Rehabil., 77(5), 1998, pp.394-398.
Gruber, Cet al. “The effect of hydrotherapy on the incidence of common cold episodes in children: a randomised clinical trial”. European Journal of Pediatrics, 162 (3), 2003, pp.168–76.
Thrash, Agatha; & Calvin Thrash. Home Remedies: Hydrotherapy, Massage, Charcoal and Other Simple Treatments. Seale, Alabama: Thrash Publications, 1981.