12 Sep 2019

Wightman & Parrish

INVACARE GUEST BLOG: 5 top tips for choosing the right pressure redistributing mattress

Choosing the right Pressure Redistributing Mattresses can prove to be a difficult task. There are so many different options and choices available that often it is tiring trying to choose the perfect one to suit your needs.

Here we highlight the importance of pressure redistributing mattresses and what to consider when selecting one.

What is a Pressure Ulcer?

A pressure ulcer is an area of damage to the skin and the underlying tissue, usually over a bony area of the body. Pressure ulcers range in severity from skin discolouration to severe open wounds where the muscle and bone are visible.

  • Often over a bony area e.g. ankles, sacrum, heels.
  • Can be caused by pressure or shear, resulting to restricted blood supply to the tissue.
  • Range in severity from skin discoloration to open wounds.


Who is at risk of Pressure Ulcers?

Those with reduced mobility and who have difficulties adjusting their own body weight are at higher risk of developing pressure ulcers as pressure is often exerted on parts of the body for long periods of time. This can lead to breakdown of skin and further deterioration of health that can even be life threatening when left untreated.

Some factors that can increase the risk include:

  • Poor circulation
  • Obesity
  • Continence issues
  • Malnourishment
  • Temperature
  • Previous tissue damage

The risk of developing pressure ulcers can be reduced or managed by using a pressure redistributing mattress, designed to redistribute as much pressure and shear from bony prominences as possible.

5 tips to help you choose the right mattress:

1) Make sure to get a full Skin Assessment

This should be undertaken by a healthcare professional and is often assessed using a risk assessment which calculates a risk score and categorizes the stage of the pressure ulcer. Review guidelines issued by the European pressure advisory panel (EPUAP) are often used for this purpose. These guidelines indicate a level of risk, which can be matched to an appropriate mattress using the corresponding descriptions that they have on them.

2) Look at different types of pressure redistributing mattress

Static mattresses

Often made from foam with castellated cut surface cells, these mattresses prove excellent for redistributing pressure whilst maximising comfort and reducing risks of shear and friction.

Some static mattresses have been designed for people at high risk or very high-risk of developing pressure ulcers.  A product such as the Invacare Softform Premier is specially designed to be suitable for those at very high risk of developing pressure ulcers.

Hybrid mattresses

Hybrid mattresses are generally a combination of air and foam, providing a comfortable foam interface which redistributes pressure over vulnerable areas of the body combined with an alternating surface powered by a discreet pump to relieve pressure to parts of the body which bear the load. They are suitable for those considered to be at very high risk.   The Invacare Softform Premier Active 2 with RX pump has been designed for those at very high risk of developing pressure ulcers and may be suitable for those with existing pressure damage, dependent on the risk assessment of a Healthcare Professional.

Alternating pressure mattresses

These mattresses consist of individual alternating air filled cells working as small groups to regularly and automatically alter distribution of pressure. These cells are activated by a pump which is usually hooked to the end of the bed and are suitable for those who are at very high risk of developing pressure ulcers.

3) The ability of the person using the mattress

The mattress may restrict transfer, which is particularly important to consider if the person usually transfers out of bed independently. Make sure you look at the impact that the mattress will have upon their ability to continue to do so, including whether the mattress will alter the height of the bed, potentially impacting on the person’s ability to complete a ‘sit to stand’ transfer from the bed.

4) Bed/bed accessories

Consider which bed the mattress will be used on and whether the mattress can be securely positioned, if not, an alternative bed may be required.

Bed accessories should be assessed for compatibility with the mattress.  This information generally be can be obtained from the user instruction for each piece of equipment.  If in any doubt always seek guidance from a Healthcare Professional.

5) Comfort

A good night’s sleep is important in enabling everyday function, therefore if the mattress is uncomfortable and preventing sleep, the impact of this may need to be weighed up with the risk of the pressure damage. It is a good idea to trial the mattress where possible so that the comfort and safety of the person can be ensured.

Selecting a pressure redistributing mattress can be a difficult task but by following these 5 tips, you should be able to ensure needs are managed appropriately. Wightman & Parrish can support you in all your healthcare mattress needs. Contact one of our Client Managers to find out how we can support you and your business today.

T 01323 445 005  

E sales@w-p.co.uk