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Cutting-edge technology supports the care of terminally ill people in Newcastle through pressure ulcer detection

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Cutting-edge technology supports the care of terminally ill people in Newcastle through pressure ulcer detection

February 12th 2018 ; BBI Europe Ltd have worked with Marie Curie, the UK’s leading charity for people with any terminal illness, to undertake a successful pilot scheme to improve the care and well-being of people in its specialist palliative care services at the Marie Curie Hospice, Newcastle. Through investment in state-of-the-art scanning technology (SEM Scanner) a number of terminally ill patients have been saved from the potential distress and pain that can be caused by pressure ulcer (PUs).

PUs can affect anyone who is immobile for a period of time, with the elderly and chronically ill being at most risk. Despite being mostly avoidable, PUs are the most reported cause of harm in the NHS; causing acute pain, extending stays in hospital and even leading to fatal complications in severe cases 1.

The care of PU places a significant drain on already stretched healthcare services in the UK. Around 700,000 PUs are reported every year2, costing the NHS more than £3million per day to manage.

Key to successful management is early detection and intervention to prevent tissue damage. The SEM Scanner, manufactured by Bruin Biometrics, is able to detect PUs around five days before they are visible on the skin3.

Prior to the introduction of the SEM Scanner at Marie Curie’s Newcastle Hospice, one key defence in the fight against PUs was a visual inspection to spot warning signs (only possible once present on the skin). This not only places high demands on the medical and nursing teams in terms of time but also limits the opportunity for early interventions.

Gillian Raine. Lead Nurse. Marie Curie Hospice, Newcastle: this is a positive step to improving the care people receive at Marie Curie hospices, highlighting how the charity is committed to supporting innovations in how we care for and support people living with terminal illnesses

Colin Priestley, MD EMEA, BBI Europe Ltd stated: “We are delighted to work in partnership with Marie Curie to help reduce the impact of pressure ulcers on patients and their families at such a challenging time.


  1. Deaths from selected causes, ONS 2015. Available at Accessed February 2018
  2. NHS Stop the pressure. Available at  Accessed February 2018
  3. Marie Curie SEM Scanner PURP Evaluation Ref TBC
  4. The Relationship between nurses’ assessment of early pressure ulcer damage and sub-epidermal moisture measurement: A prospective explorative study. Study data presented at EPUAP 2015 conference in Ghent, Belgium by Gillian O’Brien, Royal College of Surgery in Ireland