Pressure mattresses are specifically designed for individuals who are grappling with bed sores, commonly referred to as pressure ulcers. These painful sores arise when a person remains in one position for extended durations, leading to prolonged pressure on certain parts of the body. They are most frequently observed in individuals with compromised skin health or those who have limited mobility due to conditions or age. As a result, to ensure optimal comfort and aid in the prevention or management of these sores, it’s essential to choose the appropriate pressure mattress tailored to the severity or grade of the bed sores.
In this article, we delve deeper into the concept of a pressure mattress, examining its mechanism of action, and evaluating its efficacy in not only preventing pressure ulcers but also enhancing the overall comfort of the patient.
The consequences of pressure ulcers
Bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers, not only cause discomfort but also present a significant risk of severe infection, leading to an elevated need for medical attention and increased healthcare costs. Pressure sores can have a range of repercussions, both immediate and long-lasting. Some of these include:
- Bone and joint infections: A deep-seated pressure ulcer infection has the potential to penetrate deeper structures, reaching bones and joints. Septic arthritis, a consequence of such infections, damages tissues and cartilage, compromising the joint’s function. On the other hand, osteomyelitis, a bone infection, can severely diminish the functionality of affected limbs and joints.
- Cellulitis: This refers to an infection that affects the skin’s connective soft tissues. Symptoms of cellulitis include noticeable swelling, redness, and warmth in the affected areas, often accompanied by a feeling of tenderness.
Understanding pressure care
Pressure area care involves the strategic redistribution of pressure to alleviate or significantly reduce the stress exerted on a patient’s skin. When prolonged pressure is applied to the skin, as is the case when a patient is confined to bed or has limited mobility, pressure area care becomes essential for the prevention of ulcers.
This care can manifest in various forms, including but not limited to, specialised pressure care cushions, advanced pressure-relieving mattresses, and other innovative tools. Importantly, the initiative for pressure care shouldn’t only commence once sores have already developed. Instead, proactive measures should be taken in advance as they can effectively deter the formation of these painful sores in the first place.
Thus, the significance of appropriate bedding cannot be overstated in the realm of pressure ulcer prevention. It serves to drastically lower the risks associated with friction and shear forces that contribute to skin deterioration. In essence, pressure relief bedding plays an instrumental role in safeguarding areas of the body that are especially susceptible to pressure ulcers.
How a pressure mattress works
A pressure mattress is engineered to enhance the comfort of individuals who are afflicted with pressure sores. This specialised mattress provides comprehensive support to both the body and head, effectively alleviating undue strain on critical pressure points. Unlike conventional mattresses, pressure relief mattresses are distinct due to their thoughtfully designed air pockets. These pockets are tailored to exert minimal pressure on the primary stress points of the body, making them optimal for individuals with pressure concerns.
As such, pressure mattresses hold paramount importance in the realm of pressure ulcer prevention. They serve a dual purpose: they are instrumental in treating already-formed pressure sores and also act as a proactive measure to prevent ulcers in individuals who have limited mobility or are bedridden.
The role of mattresses in pressure ulcer prevention
When it comes to pressure ulcer prevention, there are three types of pressure reliving mattresses;
Static or foam mattresses
Static mattresses are consistent in their form, working diligently to relieve pressure points. They achieve this by distributing a patient’s weight evenly across a broad surface at a consistently low pressure. These mattresses are responsive to an individual’s body weight, subtle movements, and body heat. Specifically engineered for proactive measures, static mattresses focus more on the prevention of pressure ulcers rather than their treatment.
Alternating airflow mattresses
Designed with sophistication, alternating pressure sore mattresses come equipped with rows of lateral air cells that consistently alternate in their inflation state. An accompanying pump unit generally affixed to the bed’s footboard, regulates this airflow. It ensures a rhythmic cycle of inflating and deflating the air cells.
While the inflated cells provide necessary support and contouring to the user’s body, the deflated cells offer intervals of relief to the skin they underlie. This dynamic system ensures a perpetual motion beneath the individual’s skin, providing intermittent periods of zero pressure. These mattresses are invaluable both in treating established pressure sores and in preventing new ones, especially for individuals with compromised mobility. Their design facilitates continuous relief without the constant need for manual repositioning.
Hybrid or combination mattresses
Blending the best of both worlds, hybrid mattresses combine the features of static and alternating mattresses. They strike a balance by offering optimal pressure relief without compromising on comfort levels. These mattresses are particularly tailored for individuals who are at an elevated risk of developing pressure ulcers but retain some degree of mobility. The dual-nature design ensures both preventive and therapeutic benefits.
Mattresses vs. other prevention methods
To mitigate the risk of elderly or vulnerable people developing facility-acquired bedsores, all caregivers should adhere to best practices specifically geared towards the prevention of this condition.
One key strategy involves the thorough assessment of those deemed at a higher risk of developing bed sores. This crucial evaluation should be conducted by a trained and experienced healthcare professional. Furthermore, given that a patient’s condition can evolve, such assessments need to be carried out with regularity to ensure timely intervention.
Some vital procedures for preventing ulcers encompass:
- Nutrition and hydration: Ensuring that the patient receives adequate nourishment and stays well-hydrated is pivotal, as proper nutrition can bolster skin health and resilience.
- Skin assessment: It is essential to routinely inspect the patient’s skin for any early signs or indications of sore development. Regular check-ups facilitate timely detection and intervention.
- Pressure-relieving tools: Employing devices like specialised pressure-relieving mattresses and pad systems can go a long way in distributing pressure evenly and reducing the likelihood of sores.
- Frequent repositioning: One of the most effective preventive measures is altering the patient’s position periodically. This involves not just turning them in their bed but also adjusting their posture when seated in a chair. Ideally, a change in position should occur at least once every two hours to ensure that no part of the body endures prolonged pressure.
Choosing the right pressure care bed and mattress
When selecting an appropriate pressure ulcer care bed and mattress, several factors must be thoroughly evaluated to ensure optimal benefit for the user. These include:
- Comfort: It’s paramount to choose a mattress that provides the utmost comfort to the patient. Discomfort can exacerbate the risk of pressure ulcers and impede the healing process.
- Functional ability of the user: Consider the mobility and overall physical capacity of the person who will be using the mattress. Their ability to move, turn, and reposition themselves can influence the type of bed and mattress needed.
- Bed accessories: Look into any additional accessories or features that might complement the bed, such as rails, trapeze bars, or overhead lifts. These can enhance the patient’s safety, support, and ease of repositioning.
- The severity of bed sores: The condition and stage of any existing bed sores will significantly determine the kind of support and features required from the mattress.
Lastly, while personal research and considerations are vital, it’s equally crucial to consult with a healthcare professional. Their expertise and experience position them uniquely to offer insightful recommendations on the most suitable pressure care bed and mattress tailored for ulcer prevention and management.
O Neill Healthcare products can contribute to pressure ulcer prevention
Selecting the optimal pressure care mattress plays a pivotal role in the prevention of pressure ulcers. Not only can the right mattress deter the formation of these painful sores, but it can also aid in the treatment of existing ulcers while ensuring maximum comfort. As such, it is of paramount importance for both individuals and caregivers to prioritise the acquisition of proper mattresses specifically designed for ulcer prevention.
If you are in the process of considering a pressure care mattress for a family member or close associate, O Neill Healthcare presents a comprehensive array of solutions tailored for those with limited mobility, specialised needs, or distinct postural requirements.
Our diverse pressure care product line boasts some of the market’s premier offerings, meticulously engineered to prevent, oversee, and address pressure ulcers. Our collection encompasses not only mattresses but also wheelchair cushions, adaptable day beds, innovative nighttime positioning systems, and much more.
Moreover, each product in our selection is crafted with precision, ensuring high quality, comfort, and functionality, making them suitable for a broad spectrum of users and specifically aligned for the proactive management and treatment of pressure ulcers.
Contact us today and allow our vast experience to meet the pressure care needs of your most vulnerable loved ones.