Choosing a Healthcare Mattress: How to Decide?
Given all the choices in the support surface market, choosing the right mattress for your home or facility can be a difficult decision.
This decision can be made easier by clearly defining the needs of you, your loved one, or your residents.
What Does Your Resident Need?
When shopping for healthcare mattresses, be sure to consider these questions ahead of time to ensure the best choice.
- Is the user at risk of developing a pressure ulcer?
- Is the user at risk of falling out of bed?
- Will the mattress be used for a typical night of sleep or for a bed-bound patient?
- Is the user’s weight a concern?
These are just a few of the questions that come up during discussions about the appropriate product to purchase.
Reduce Pressure by Redistributing Pressure
A majority of healthcare mattress features and therapies focus on reducing pressure by redistributing pressure. If the patient is at risk of a pressure injury, there are plenty of products to choose from; and for general redistribution, a static foam mattress is a good start. Mattresses with surface modification (Lumex Gold Care Foam 41980-1633) or multiple layers of foam (Lumex Select Comfort 500 Series) help to immerse the user in the mattress, thus spreading pressure over a larger area. In some cases, a different foam might be used at the foot end of the mattress (Lumex Select Comfort 600 Series) to provide a higher degree of pressure relief for sensitive heels.
Even if the user is not at risk of a pressure injury, it is still a good idea to look for a mattress with even a minimal degree of pressure relief, as it directly relates to comfort.
Move Up to Power?
The next step would be to move up to a powered system, whether a convertible unit, which has the benefits of a static foam mattress with the option to add an air pump, or a fully powered Alternating Pressure and/or Low Air Loss mattress replacement system. The two main therapies in a powered unit are alternating pressure, which offloads pressure by alternately filling and emptying air chambers to support the body, and low air loss, which uses a volume of air to help with moisture and skin integrity.
Static? Alternating Pressure? Low Air Loss?
A basic unit such as the Lumex LS200, shown at right, offers both static and alternating pressure functions but requires minimal user input.
Additional options include raised bolsters to help with fall prevention (static foam and air mattresses) and turning or lateral positioning (air only) which, in addition to alternating pressure, rolls the user to the left and then to the right to assist with multiple ulcer sites or difficult areas to treat.
Identifying your therapeutic needs when choosing the right mattress for you or those under your care is the key. It may be a single product or a combination of products, but a solution is available.
Kessler Colson is a Product Manager at Graham-Field.
About GF Health Products, Inc.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with more than 300 US-based employees, GF Health Products, Inc. is a major manufacturer of healthcare products for the acute care, extended care, homecare and primary care markets. The Graham-Field family of brands includes Basic American Medical Products, Everest & Jennings, Grafco, Hausted, John Bunn, Labtron, Lumex and Lumiscope. Visit www.grahamfield.com or call 770-368-4700.