When a person’s mobility is reduced and they are confined to a bed or chair, more often than not, it is likely that pressure injuries will develop. The lack of movement puts pressure on the shoulders, lower back, the back of the head, the buttock area, the heels and the elbows. Since pressure injuries are very hard to treat it is better to do all in one’s power to prevent them on time and that includes: regular changes of the position, skin care, maintaining good hygiene and getting a special type of mattress that targets such issues.
These mattresses are especially designed to prevent bed sores, or otherwise known as ulcers. Ulcers occur when circulation is inhibited due to lack of movement when bed confined. The excessive contact of the body and the mattress makes for the creation of these pressure spots that in turn pinch off the tiny blood vessels. This prevents the delivery of nutrients to the underlying tissues and the skin. When constantly deprived from nutrients, and there is constant rubbing and friction, the skin becomes a very convenient area for the formation of ulcers and infections.
Here’s no denying a bedridden person can greatly benefit from a pressure care mattress being included in the treatment regiment. That being said, let’s see which are the three main types of pressure care and relief mattresses.
Foam Pressure Relief Mattresses
This type of surfaces aid the proper distribution of body weight. Oftentimes, instead of foam, such mattresses can be filled with gel, fiber or fluid. The proper distribution prevent feeling pressure in the commonly affected areas. In order to achieve this, the foam of such mattresses is self-molding and shock-absorbing.
Air Pressure Relief Mattresses
These surfaces rely on devices that deflate and inflate interchangeably, thus creating an alternating pressure-relieving surface. For instance, the Low Air Loss (LAL) systems feature small holes withing the mattress and a system for blowing that blows air into the mattress and later on letting it escape. Due to this movement, the bedridden person gets better blood flow which in turn prevents the formation of ulcers.
Alternating Pressure (AP) mattresses
These feature individual air tubes that deflate and inflate automatically and are tied to a preset schedule (usually determined by the patient’s caregivers). When the air powered pressure is applied and then released, it helps enhance the blood flow through the capillaries. Apart from preventing various infections and ulcers, these mattress can also be used for patients that suffer from fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease and those recovering from critical burns.
Finally, since the needs of bedridden patients vary, the choice of mattress should be discussed with the person’s medical team which will take into account their comfort goals, abilities and general state of health.