Bristol Centre for Enablement image

This guest article features an interview with Kirsty-Ann Cutler and Jennifer Bagust from the Wheelchair and Special Seating team at Bristol Centre for Enablement, and Lawrence Benton from BES Healthcare.

Over the last decade, pressure mapping has become a very powerful assessment tool, enabling clinicians around the world to back their clinical judgement with real-time evidence.

At Bristol Centre for Enablement, the Wheelchair and Special Seating team has been using pressure mapping as more than just an assessment tool. Thanks to a large donation from Southmead Hospital Charity, they have used pressure mapping to train new starters, educate community and acute teams, and to give carers and patients the assurance that the equipment prescribed is the best solution for their needs.

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BES Healthcare delivered two new BodiTrak Pro pressure mapping systems this spring and had the opportunity to chat to the team and understand how these systems would benefit them.

Why BodiTrak?

After evaluating other systems, and through feedback from other services who use the BodiTrak, the Wheelchair and Special Seating team decided that the BodiTrak was the right system for their needs. It is simple to use, intuitive, and shows real-time results. They felt that the system was affordable, which meant that they could buy two BodiTrak Pro systems, one for their clinics and one for the team assessing patients in their homes.

BodiTrak pressure mapping and its benefits, as seen by the Bristol Centre for Enablement

Providing the right equipment

Pressure mapping gives the Wheelchair and Special Seating team the ability to adequately assess patients with complex needs and provide them with the right equipment. Pressure mapping not only provides scientific evidence to back up clinical reasoning and experience, but also gives a more dynamic real-time analysis of the patient’s postural needs.

For example, if a change is made to a pressure cushion, the results of that change might not be noticeable for weeks, but a pressure mapping system shows immediate effects of that change to a patient’s posture. It gives the team peace of mind and supports their decision-making process.

It also gives them live feedback while assessing for different levels of equipment, for example cushions. For users with complex needs, pressure mapping has been an excellent tool when assessing for different postural needs.

Educating end-users

At the Bristol Centre for Enablement, pressure mapping is also being used to educate users and demonstrate the effectiveness of the prescribed equipment. It also helps show users in real time the effects of their interaction with the equipment and how this interaction could have an effect on their posture and pressure build-up.

Users who have very poor sensation are not always aware of a developing pressure ulcer. With a clear visual representation offered by the BodiTrak, the team can show these users which areas are at high risk when seated. Some users might not feel comfortable at first on a piece of equipment like a cushion or they might have reservations regarding the equipment provided.

An intuitive system like the BodiTrak gives the team the ability to show their patients data and images, offering reassurance that they are being provided with the right equipment, thus involving them in the prescription process.

Bristol Centre for Enablement image

Educating carers

Carers play a very important role in a user’s life and also in pressure ulcer prevention. Educating carers by showing them in real-time how the equipment should be used is vital. For example, when a carer hoists a user, they might not be aware that the user is being hoisted asymmetrically.

BodiTrak can be used to show the carer the effects of asymmetric posture by highlighting the areas of high pressure and potential damage to the tissue that can be caused as a result of being hoisted incorrectly.

Educating new staff

The Wheelchair and Special Seating team use pressure mapping to train new clinicians and give them the confidence to prescribe the right equipment, supporting their clinical judgement, especially for complex needs The BodiTrak system provides feedback while trialling different products, supplementing the learning process.

Financial benefits from using BodiTrak

Selecting the right equipment

The Wheelchair and Special Seating team felt that the first and most important financial benefit was the ability to select the right equipment without the concern of over prescribing. Sometimes, clinical reasoning or justification on its own can be subjective and, as a result, one can over-prescribe to ensure that the user is getting the best possible care.

By using a pressure mapping system, they can objectively look at data to assess the user’s needs. Rather than prescribing the most expensive solution, which might not be needed, the BodiTrak helps support clinicians choose the appropriate level of equipment, delivering cost effective care.

BodiTrak – an affordable solution

In comparison to other pressure mapping systems on the market, the Wheelchair and Special Seating team felt that the BodiTrak was not only intuitive but also affordable. This meant that they could buy two BodiTrak pressure mapping systems rather than just one from another manufacturer. The two systems are a huge benefit as the team can use one in the clinic and the other out in the community.

Pressure ulcer prevention

Looking at the bigger picture and considering the wider costs of pressure ulcer management, the Wheelchair and Special Seating team believe prevention is better than cure.

Costs associated with pressure ulcer management, including ITU stays, longer stays in hospital, complications due to infection, cost of dressings, clinical team and district nurse visits, are huge. The NHS spends over £1.4 million a day on pressure ulcer management and its related costs. In addition, grade 2-4 pressure ulcers can be catastrophic to a user’s independence and life. Using a pressure mapping system to prevent pressure ulcers can be a massive cost-saving overall.

BES HealthcareRemove term: BodiTrak Pro BodiTrak ProRemove term: Bristol Centre for Enablement Bristol Centre for EnablementRemove term: pressure mapping pressure mappingRemove term: pressure mapping device pressure mapping deviceRemove term: specialist seating specialist seatingRemove term: Wheelchair and Special Seating team Wheelchair and Special Seating teamRemove term: wheelchair service wheelchair service

Charitable funding for the BodiTrak – a moving story

The two BodiTrak systems were provided by a generous donation to Southmead Hospital Charity. In 2019, the team cared for a lady who left a generous gift in her Will towards the hospital. This kind gift was used towards their wheelchair services for pressure mapping systems so they can continue to provide patients with the best possible care. The team is very grateful to have received this funding which will impact many peoples’ lives for generations to come.

Experience working with BES Healthcare

The Wheelchair and Special Seating team has enjoyed working with BES Healthcare over the years. They felt that BES has been very supportive with a professional and experienced team. BES has a lot of unique products and the team can always count on the company to find the best solution.

The Wheelchair and Special Seating team has built relationships with many companies over the years and find it fascinating how everyone works together in the industry. As BES is Bristol-based, the team has easy access to the company and its products, and any challenges are resolved quickly when needed. The team has the confidence in BES and knows that they will get the support and training when required.


Pressure ulcer management can be a huge cost to the NHS. The Wheelchair and Special Seating team believe that their BodiTrak systems will not only help educate carers and their own staff, but also support district nurses to look at 24-hour postural management.

The BodiTrak system and the use of pressure mapping in general will help integrate teams and raise the bar when prescribing equipment. It can definitely help in joined-up thinking between acute and community teams, and give users and carers confidence in the equipment prescribed.

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