Low Friction Medical Fabric? Introducing Parafricta

Pressure ulcers (or bedsores) are typically caused by sustained pressure combined with friction and shear on an area of the body.

Anyone can be affected by pressure ulcers, however, those who are confined to bed or sit in wheelchairs for long periods of time are at a higher risk. Parafricta low-friction fabric has been designed to prevent the formation of injuries related to pressure and friction, and to help with the healing process.

How Does Parafricta Low-Friction Fabric Work?

Parafricta low-friction fabric is a strong, silk-like, washable product, that helps to manage and prevent pressure ulcers. This is done by protecting from shear and friction, both of which can damage the skin, especially on parts of the body that are subjected to a lot of sustained pressure.

Some of the most commonly affected areas are the base of the spine, heels and hips. When someone does not move for a long period of time, pressure builds up on the parts of the body that are in contact with a surface, for example the seat of a wheelchair. Movement can then make the skin shear and break.

The shear stress of moving after long stationary periods can be eliminated by using a low-friction fabric. This is measured using a friction coefficient, which defines how well a material can moderate the friction between two objects. Materials that have a friction coefficient <1 will limit the friction between two objects effectively and so make the development of shear stress less likely.

Generally, textiles have a friction coefficient between 0.4 and 0.7, meaning they are good at reducing shear. Parafricta is a proprietary low-friction fabric and has an ultra-low friction coefficient of only 0.2. With Parafricta, friction is reduced so much that shear is almost completely eliminated. This reduces discomfort significantly and greatly decreases the likelihood of developing a pressure ulcer.

Low-Friction Fabric for Medical Applications

Historically, the management of pressure ulcers has focused on the redistribution of pressure. Friction elimination is a new technique. Parafricta low-friction fabric has allowed for the manufacture of a new generation of products and garments for pressure ulcer prevention and management, including:

  • Bedding: Pressure-relieving mattresses can be complemented by low-friction fabric bedding. This offers comprehensive protection from shear and friction to every part of the body.
  • Undergarments: Low-friction undergarments are a comfortable way to combat pressure ulcers that affect the buttocks and hips.
  • Bootees: Parafricta bootees target the heels and reduce heel friction associated with agitation in bed.

About Parafricta Parafricta

APA Parafricta Ltd’s range of Parafricta®-branded medical garments and bedding have been clinically proven to offer protection to fragile skin from the damaging effects of friction, which can lead to painful skin breakdown and ulceration (medically known as “pressure” or decubitus ulcers and commonly known as “bedsores”). The products can also ease movement in bed for patients with impaired mobility.

Parafricta® medical products are expertly designed to be easy to use and apply to the areas most at risk of skin damage and ulceration. They are washable and reusable. Bootees are used to protect the vulnerable heel area and undergarments to protect the lower back and buttocks. Parafricta® bedding offers greater ease of movement and comfort to patients whilst in bed, including for patient suffering other fragile skin conditions (e.g. premature babies and burns patients).

Parafricta® medical products incorporate proprietary ultra-low friction fabrics to protect patient skin. Friction can cause skin to stick to surfaces on sheets which leads to jolting or wrenching and damages the skin’s structure and integrity. Parafricta® ultra-low friction fabrics move much more freely and smoothly over skin and the underlying surface. The technology employed in Parafricta® products is covered by granted and pending patents (for example European Patent EP1 641420 B1).

Published research has demonstrated that use of Parafricta® garments can reduce the cost of treating skin damage by £63,000 per 100 at risk patients. Elimination of “pressure” ulcers is a key objective of the NHS’s Harm-Free Care agenda and the new Clinical Commissioning Groups in England are incentivising successful reduction in the prevalence of skin damage with extra payments to providers of acute and community care.

Parafricta technology has other potential applications in the non-medical arena such as sportswear and consumer products. Please contact Parafricta if you have a non-medical enquiry.


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Last updated: Oct 24, 2019 at 5:08 AM

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