"Can We Heal Bedsores With Something Invisible?  ...  Diapulse, Decubiti and Fannies

Published in the Long Island Jewish Medical Center Newsletter, Fall, 1991
As you walk through the double doors of 4 North it would not be unusual to find yourself face to face with a large two tone turquoise system that stands about 4 feet tall mounted on  wheels.  A nurse might matter of  fact walk this ominous looking system into a room and announce, "Fannie, it's time for your Diapulse treatment!"  Fannie turns as the nurse pivots the arm of the system and a round treatment head is placed over Fannie's sacral dressing (you guessed it, Fannie is a confused elderly woman with a Stage III  sacral  decubitus since admission).  A few quick pushes of the buttons and a few comfortable  pillows for Fannie and the nurse is on her way.  There is no sensation, no side effects and treats directly through the dressing.  Thirty minutes later the nurse hears the timer go off and removes the treatment head.

Wait a minute.  No tape?  No irrigations?  No ointments?  No need for premedication for pain?  Can this actually work?  Nurses have be indoctrinated to equate decubitus care with lengthy regimes, often finding that a little improvement takes a lot of supplies and a lot of time (which usually means a lot of money!).

This new technology, Diapulse, uses a pulsed radio wave to "recharge" cells by affecting the Na+/K+ shift.  Research and double blind studies have shown that cells perform at higher efficiency, so the healing process occurs in a fraction of the time compared to other conventional methods of wound care.  On 4 North, we combined the use of specialty beds, simple dressings and good nutrition with Diapulse and saw some significant results with Stage III and even some Stage IV decubiti. The nurses on 4 North enthusiastically embraced this new form of wound treatment and found it very simple to apply in lieu of  all other past procedures. 

This triggers the notion that we may be able to apply this type of  therapy to other aspects of our care.  It saves time, money and most importantly, it is "user friendly" for the nurse and patient.  The system can be easily brought to the home for continued  use and many insurance companies cover its use both on an inpatient and outpatient basis.Fannie will probably have half hour treatments twice a day over a three or four week period of time with good results.  It 's encouraging for us as nurses to see faster results as we open our minds to new treatment modalities... especially when it covers all our Fannies.