Compression hosiery in the elderly reduces falls and is easily donned thanks to simple donning devices
This MOH Focus presents the promising findings of two studies that will motivate elderly people and their caregivers to use compression therapy. This paper is available to download in English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish.
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
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.
The effects of MCS on postural stability were evaluated on stable and unstable surfaces during a balancing task.
- 46 participants
- 65-84 years
- male: n=23
- female: n=23
- 8-15 mmHg MCS
- 20-30 mmHg MCS
Stabilometric parameters measuring somatosensory function. Their decrease is associated with a reduced risk of falling.
MCS reduced the levels of stabilometric parameters (especially on an unstable surface). MCS had an immediate positive effect on somatosensory function and postural regulation.
Study 2: MCS and donning devices
Donning and doffing medical compression hosiery is extremely difficult for elderly patients. This study (2) examined whether donning devices facilitate donning in the elderly.
Successful donning of MCS was analyzed either with or without donning devices.
- 40 patients
- >65 years
- severe CVI (C4-C6)
- male: n=17
- female: n=23
- one 40mmHg
- two superimposed 20+20mmHg
various, including EasySlide, EasySlide Caran (SIGVARIS), or none.
- Complete donning and correct positioning of MCS
- Subjective patient evaluation
Donning devices significantly improved donning success. SIGVARIS devices were among the most successful. Donning with a device was rated significantly better than without.
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.