Preventative aids cover a wide spectrum of specialist
features. Efficacy should be judged, if possible,
on the basis of independent evidence.
memory foam mattresses.
pressure overlays, mattresses and bed systems
Fluidised bead, low air loss and alternating air
mattresses (also known as dynamic mattresses)
These are very expensive sophisticated products which,
in the case of high and very high risk patients, can
make all the difference to the patient’s susceptibility
to pressure ulcer damage. Some are for general use,
others for specialised purposes where, for example,
there may be a high exudates problem.
Various independent studies have been conducted on
the efficacy of these systems and due to their high
cost, purchasers should make every effort to ensure
that their choice is cost effective and based on independent
100mm pressure relieving foam cushion
Gell and/or foam cushion
adjustable to individual person.
No person should sit in a wheelchair without some
form of specialist cushioning. If nothing else is
available - use the person’s own pillow. (Consider
Avoid plastic draw sheets, inco pads and tightly tucked
in sheet/sheet covers, especially when using specialist
bed and mattress overlay systems, as they increase
pressure, especailly on the feet.
Use duvet - plus vapour permeable membrane.
Within a there should be a separate Mattress
Policy setting out the time intervals for testing
It has been found, particularly since the introduction
of fire resistant materials, that the life of a standard
UK Standard Hospital mattress is only months. After this time they ‘bottom
out’. This can be tested for by spreading the hands
and pushing down on the middle third of the mattress.
The bed base should not be able to be felt. Though
a very simplistic test, it is one that is easily carried
out, and gives you a very good idea of the state of
Mattresses and mattress covers should be examined
for damage or staining, which will create a risk of
cross infection. All covers should be made of 2 way
stretch material, to reduce the risk of adding to
the shearing forces on a patients sacral area, in
All mattresses should be dated at the time of first
use. The ends of the bed should be identified – from
1- 4 to give an easy reference to systematic turning,
end to end, and top to bottom. Some companies supply
pressure mattresses already marked with this information.