Compression hosiery in the elderly reduces falls and is easily donned thanks to simple donning devices

This One-Pager presents the promising findings of two studies that will motivate elderly people and their caregivers to use compression therapy. It is available for download in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Chinese.

How to help people put on and take off compression socks

Background

Compression therapy in the elderly is an effective treatment for chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). However, it is met with skepticism due to the practicalities of applying & removing medical compression stockings (MCS).

Study 1: MCS & postural stability

Aim

Elderly people are at greater risk of falls than younger people. This study (1) investigated whether leg stimulation with MCS aids postural regulation in the elderly.

Experimental procedure

The effects of MCS on postural stability were evaluated on stable and unstable surfaces during a balancing task.

Participants:

  • 46 participants
  • healthy
  • 65-84 years
  • male: n=23
  • female: n=23

Treatments:

  • barefoot
  • placebo
  • 8-15 mmHg MCS
  • 20-30 mmHg MCS

Primary endpoints:

Stabilometric parameters measuring somatosensory function. Their decrease is associated with a reduced risk of falling.

Study 1: Results

MCS reduced the levels of stabilometric parameters (especially on an unstable surface). MCS had an immediate positive effect on somatosensory function and postural regulation.

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Study 2: MCS and donning devices

Aim

Donning and doffing medical compression hosiery is extremely difficult for elderly patients. This study (2) examined whether donning devices facilitate donning in the elderly.

Experimental procedure

Successful donning of MCS was analyzed either with or without donning devices.

Participants:

  • 40 patients
  • >65 years
  • severe CVI (C4-C6)
  • male: n=17
  • female: n=23

MCS:

  • one 40mmHg
  • two superimposed 20+20mmHg

Donning devices:

various, including EasySlide, EasySlide Caran (SIGVARIS), or none.

Primary endpoints:

  • Complete donning and correct positioning of MCS
  • Subjective patient evaluation

Study 2: Results

Donning devices significantly improved donning success. SIGVARIS devices were among the most successful. Donning with a device was rated significantly better than without.

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Take-home message

Wearing knee-length compression socks could be included as a viable intervention in addition to other forms of balance training to reduce the risk of falling in elderly people.

Donning devices should be mentioned by physicians to encourage elderly patients and their caregivers to wear and comply with compression therapy.

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