In order to prevent and treat pressure injuries, one has to be strategically proactive in the selection of beds. Careful consideration in this regard is vital and should be a part of ones individualized pressure management strategy and plan. Understanding the specifications of a bed, especially its support surface, is a very important part of a pressure injury treatment and prevention program. Every person needs different support surface properties; one must take into account the individual risk factors, their varying levels of tissue tolerance, and the current pressure area(s), if any.
The pressure relieving foam mattresses come in different range patterns, from low specification mattress to high specification mattress – a low standard specification mattress will not meet all pressure injury prevention requirement. A support surface that provides shear reduction, enhanced pressure redistribution and microclimate control is essential for a very high-level pressure care.
When considering the type of support surface that a customer may require as per his individual requirements, it is very important to consider the pressure injury risk factors, body mass, body temperature, transfers/ mobility, comfort and moisture.
When considering the most appropriate pressure management plan, we advise you to match the pressure care requirements of an individual to both the bed and the mattress. It is wise to consider the amount of profiling that each bed and mattress allows for, as the greater ability to profile provides increased repositioning ability and pressure redistribution. Using a frame that conforms to one’s body shape, posture, and lying position, supports the natural anatomical positioning and increases the envelopment properties. Moreover, the mattress compensation within a bed protects an individual’s skin integrity.
Important Considerations While Selecting a Support Surface
It is very crucial to select and purchase a support surface that fulfills the individual’s needs. The below mentioned factors may help to consider the pressure redistribution needs of an individual.
- Take into account the individual’s level of inactivity and immobility and inactivity;
- Consider the individual’s need for shear reduction and microclimate control;
- Size and weight of the individual is also an important consideration while selecting a support surface;
- Risk for the development of new pressure injuries matters a lot; and
- The location of existing pressure injurie(s), number, and its severity must also be considered.
The pressure redistributing support surfaces are specially designed to reduce the interface pressure i.e., to increase the body surface area that comes in contact with the support or to sequentially adjust the parts of the individual’s body that bear load, hence decreasing the duration of loading at any given anatomical site.
Instead of using a non-high specification reactive foam mattress, use a high specification reactive foam mattress for all the individuals assessed as being at risk for pressure injuries. It is important to review the characteristics of mattresses that are used in the facility for pressure injury prevention to ensure that they are high specification foam mattresses. Consider using other reactive support surfaces for the individuals that are at risk of pressure injury development.
For individuals at a high risk of pressure injury development, use an active support surface (overlay or mattress). Especially when frequent manual repositioning is not possible. When selecting an alternating pressure mattress one should consider the pressure injury risk, individual’s comfort requirement, and foam effectiveness that is determined through regular skin assessments.