Dolphin Therapy is a reactive mattress system that creates a simulated fluid environment, enabling full immersion and envelopment, significantly reducing pressure, shear and tissue deformation.
- Tissue symmetry is maintained.
- Vascular occlusion is minimised, maintaining near normal blood flow.
- Tissue ischemia is prevented, even when the patient is nursed directly on the affected area.
- Positive patient outcomes are achieved.
Indications for use:
- Patients who otherwise would be suitable for air fluidised therapy and would be most frequently used in the care of patients within intensive care, burns and plastics, vascular surgery and trauma & orthopaedic units.
- Patients with pressure related tissue damage and those undergoing flap surgery for pressure ulcer repair.
- Prevention of skin breakdown in the most vulnerable of patients including spinal cord injury where the spine has been stabilised.
- Pain management, including end-of-life care.
- Where repositioning is challenging, for example for patients in ICU/CCU.
- Patients who are non-concordant with repositioning.
Clinical research and evidence summary
CT scans taken at St Joseph’s Hospital, Tampa FL, demonstrate tissue symmetry of a healthy individual when placed on a foam mattress and on Dolphin.
|Distance from ischial tuberosities to skin surface:|
|Supine, on foam||75, 78mm|
|Supine, on Dolphin||109, 99mm|
The Division of Plastic Surgery at La Jolla Medical Centre, California, conducted a study into the effect on tissue perfusion of Dolphin Therapy vs foam. They also measured the degree of vascular occlusion.
Tissue perfusion retained - Foam:
Tissue perfusion retained - Dolphin:
Vascular occlusion - Foam:
Vascular occlusion - Dolphin:
The Division of Plastic Surgery, University of California, San Diego, CA, and the Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Luebeck, Germany conducted a study into the potential of using Dolphin Therapy to prevent intra-operatively acquired pressure ulcers. Laser Dopler Flowmetry was used to measure dynamic changes in the microcirculation when patients were placed on Dolphin vs a standard trolley.
Reduction in perfusion - Std Trolley:
Reduction in perfusion - Dolphin:
Memphis VA Medical Centre, a 225-bed hospital with a 60-bed spinal cord injury centre invested in 44 Dolphin mattresses for use on its two spinal cord injury units. They had previously used Air Fluidised therapy for these patients but still experienced an 11% rate of hospital acquired pressure ulcers in heels (HAPU). Their goals were to prevent or reduce HAPU development and to reduce rental costs associated with AF.
Costs reduced by $13,000 per bed
Pressure ulcers reduced from 11% to 0%
Sparrow Speciality Hospital in Lansing, MI conducted a study to compare the efficacy of Dolphin Therapy as an alternative to Air Fluidised (AF) therapy for flap patients.
- Incisional healing
- Successful flap closure
- Improved comfort
- Zero occurrence of hospital acquired pneumonia (a previous concern with AF)
- Treatment cost halved
A case series was published by Jacqui Fletcher, Clinical Editor of Wounds UK, evaluating the use of Dolphin Therapy with 91 complex patients.
Positive outcomes were reported for wound healing, comfort, earlier discharge, reduced need for repositioning and pain management at end-of-life.