The Importance of Reliable Clinical Research

By Martina Tierney OT · November 17, 2016 ·

Clinical Research

We often talk about our clinical research project with Ulster University which was the only clinical randomised control trial on seating of its kind in the world.  I feel that it is important to reiterate the value and importance of reliable, clinical research like this project, to support clinical judgement and aid clinicians in justifying clinical seating provision.

Why is Research Important?

Clinicians are required to make decisions on behalf of their patients based on reliable clinical research ensuring the treatment they choose or prescribe is based on sound, proven outcomes. They are reliant on companies, researchers and individuals carrying out comprehensive research so they can be confident that the decisions they make are supported by evidence based practice. In today's world, clinicians are often bombarded with research studies, clinical trials and 'proven' results, but not every study should be considered equally. There are important factors to consider when weighing up the impact and reliability of the research presented to us at any time.

As a clinical company at heart, Seating Matters know the importance of sound clinical research and so invested heavily in time, finances and resources in a two year clinical trial with Ulster University in Northern Ireland. From this study, which was ethically approved by OREC, a collection of measurable, tangible results were proven and can be replicated in real life settings.

An Overview of our Clinical Research Study

  • 2 year study.
  • Partnered with independent leading researchers from Ulster University.
  • Participants involved real patients from three large care facilities in Northern Ireland.
  • These patients faced real life challenges.
  • Ethically approved by OREC (Office for Research Ethics Committee Northern Ireland).


Research Methods 

Both qualitative and quantitative tools were used, as well as standard methods of data collection such as pulse oximeters, and methods which were designed by the researchers.


Data Collection

Participants were selected by the independent researchers (not Seating Matters) and placed into two groups - a Control Group where participants remained in their existing seating, and an Intervention Group in which we were able to change their seating solution and use a recommended chair from the Seating Matters range.  All participants recieved a seating assessment prior to the commencement of the study and at the end to determine the impact.



The results were staggering.  We were very pleased to have the confirmation of what we believed to be true - that our seating solution is truly life changing.

  • A reduction in pressure ulcers/pressure injuries in the intervention group.
  • An increase in pressure ulcers/pressure injuries in the control group by 5%.
  • An increase in oxygen saturation levels in the blood in the intervention group by 95%.
  • Improved posture, physiological function and independence in the intervention group.
  • A significant reduction in repositioning, which meant a 219 hour time saving in one client case.
  • A reduction in the use of restraint.
  • A reduction in pain medication.
  • A reduction in the use of specialist, high cost pressure cushions.

Find out more about the clinical research study here and watch our touching overview video which summarises the research and the impact this has on patient lives and potential impact on healthcare budgets worldwide.

The final point was a little bit of a surprise to us.  Participants in both groups were using high cost pressure cushions (approximate price £450/$750 each) prior to the research trial.  During the trial, a number of participants in the control group remained on the high risk pressure cushions, and over half of these participants still showed skin redness at the end of the trial.  There were also participants within the group who were upgraded to use high risk cushions within the study period. Despite an increase in high risk pressure cushion use in the control group there was still an increase of pressure ulcers/injuries by 5%.

In contrast, within the intervention group, 92% of participants used the Seating Matters cushion during the study period.  No cushion upgrades were necessary, and no skin redness was reported at the end of the trial.

From these findings we realised that  much of the attention in pressure management in seating has traditionally been placed on the cushion alone, whilst this is only one quarter of the success of the seating solution, and so we developed The Four Principles of Pressure Management in Seating to help clinicians to replicate these amazing results with their patients.


The Four Principles of Pressure Management in Seating


1. Load the Body

2. Provide Postural Support

3. Allow Effective Repositioning

4. Use an Appropriate Surface


Download your free Four Principles of Pressure Management in Seating Poster HERE.


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To learn more about The Four Principles of Pressure Management in Seating please request your free copy of The Clinician's Seating Handbook here.


Free Copy of The Clinician's Seating Handbook by Martina Tierney OT





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