When bed sores develop on a bed-ridden patient, it can be heartbreaking for the patient and the caregivers. For this reason, research is ongoing to determine the precise medical strategies that will prevent these ugly and debilitating sores, also known as pressure ulcers.
One tool in the bed sore arsenal that may help some patients is a specialized mattress. Here's what you need to know about bed sores and the 3 types of mattresses that are being used to prevent them.
Why do bed sores occur?
When a person is confined to bed for long periods, the areas of their body that are in contact with their mattress are under extreme pressure. This is the result of gravity acting on bones, which compress the capillaries and lymphatic pathways in the area.
The compression of tissue where the patient is in direct contact with the mattress leads to a decreased ability of capillaries to deliver oxygen and remove toxins, and affects the lymphatic pathways in the same area by decreasing their ability to handle the excess fluids that result from the compromised capillaries.
There are 6 stages of pressure ulcers, from suspected deep tissue injury to unstageable sores which are advanced, scarred-over ulcerations.
Alternating pressure mattress.
Alternating pressure mattresses have air-filled chambers in them which run horizontally under the patient. When the mattress is activated, it deflates and then inflates every other chamber, so that at any given time, only half of the mattress is in contact with patient skin.
The alternating pressure mattress is a good choice for long-term bedridden patients who are difficult to turn or move. The inflating and deflating chambers effectively reduce constant pressure on deep tissue to help prevent bed sores and make existing bed sores less likely to advance to a more serious state.
Low pressure mattress.
A low pressure mattress blows a steady stream of pressurized air over its surface. This is one way to reduce direct mattress pressure on skin and keep vulnerable areas of the body dry.
Because there can often be a lot of leakage in an ulcerated area due to the lymphatic system's inability to remove those fluids, the resulting moist environment can lead to secondary infections and tissue breakdown in the bed sore area. A low pressure mattress may be the right choice for a patient with this problem.
Mattress overlays are protective layers of cushioned materials that are placed on top of mattresses. These overlays may be constructed of simple eggshell foam or may be made of soft sheepskin.
Overlays work by providing a thick barrier between the skin and the mattress, and they are good choices for people who will be bedridden for only a short while.
If you are a nurse or a home caregiver for a patient at risk of developing bedsores, consult with the attending or primary physician to develop a plan to reduce the bed ridden person's chances of developing ugly pressure ulcers. One of the above mattress types can be the solution to this devastating physical damage.Share
14 December 2015
When we started focusing on emergency preparedness, we thought our simple first aid kit would work in most situations. To test it out, we took it on a road trip with us. Unfortunately, we quickly realized our kit was missing several essential supplies, including bandages, tweezers, and even key medications. After dealing with a few emergencies, we knew we needed to invest in better medical equipment. We purchased highly portable, yet effective, medical supplies so that we could prepare for anything life would throw at us. This blog is all about medical equipment that you might need someday.