The alleviation of patient pain associated with perineal wounds after labour is a frequent problem faced by health professionals which has few obvious solutions.
For new mums; tears, bruising, swelling and episiotomies are just a few causes of pain and discomfort when all they want to do is sit down and get comfy with their new baby. Analgesia is often prescribed to combat these issues along with the recommendation of taking warm baths and using pressure-relieving cushions. However, most pressure-relieving cushions are based on the simple concept of a ring, the hole in which is placed under the sore and delicate perineum. Although such cushions have been used for centuries, they are far from ideal.
The doughnut shape of these cushions means that the blood and lymphatic vessels serving the soft tissues within the ring are likely to be adversely affected by the circumferential pressure of the ring itself. Clinical studies have shown that the circumferential pressure that the cushion generates does effect the venous and lymphatic drainage of the soft tissue and this can lead to increased oedema and therefore more pain, something it is meant to be providing comfort for. Imagine sitting on the toilet for a few hours.
But what is the alternative?
Peter Lowthian who was a Senior Nurse at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London and Ian Swain who was the Director at the Medical Physics Department Salisbury District Hospital saw the need for something better. They scientifically designed a pain-management system to relieve pressure and reduce pain in the perineal area, The VALLEY® Cushion.
The VALLEY® Cushion has a central channel, running from front to rear, the depth of which can be altered by independently inflating each side of the cushion. This allows the degree of support to be varied by the patient and so reduces pressure and associated discomfort. The channel or ‘VALLEY®’ is tapered to allow use by people of varying Ischial widths and shaped to allow most of a person’s weight to be supported on the outer edge of each ischium and partly on the ‘trochanteric shelves’. The cushion may be used on a chair or in a bed and will enable mothers to remain seated for hours at a time free from the numbness often associated with inflatable cushions. Use of The VALLEY® Cushion is an important factor in settling new mums into a more comfortable lifestyle.
When a study was conducted with The VALLEY® Cushion none of the mothers developed pressure sores or had a breakdown in the integrity of their wounds whilst using the cushion. 90% of these mothers stated that the cushion relived soreness to the extent that they did not feel the need to take any analgesia or could reduce what they were taking. Midwives also involved in this study commented that “it reduced the analgesia she would have had” and “very reliable and helpful to this mother”. The results of this study showed that The VALLEY® Cushion is a far superior pain management solution as it will not compromise blood circulation or lymphatic drainage.
What mothers think of The VALLEY® Cushion
- 91% of those asked thought The VALLEY® Cushion was “good/very good/excellent”
- 94% would recommend The VALLEY® Cushion to others
- “Great service arrived on time”
- “Thank you, certainly helped relieve the pain”
- “Oh my gosh, you got me through the first few days post birth. I cannot thank you enough!”
- “The VALLEY® Cushion meant I could sit down after the birth which was a life saver after 5 days labour”
- “I wouldn’t have been able sit for 5 days after birth at all otherwise”
The benefits of The VALLEY® Cushion
- Marked reduction on the reliance of any analgesia for pain relief
- Quicker healing rate
- Overwhelming preferences for its effectiveness in comparison to the ‘ring’ cushion or other appliances
- Reduced risk of wound breakdown
Service providers in Postnatal Departments along with Colorectal/Stoma care, Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund and Oncology find that the majority of their patients suffering perineal pain and discomfort benefit from using The VALLEY® Cushion. The VALLEY® Cushion’s unique features will enable new mums to sit again with ease and comfort and concentrate on the most important thing, their new baby.
The VALLEY® Cushion is available to buy or hire.
For more information on The VALLEY® Cushion
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