Prone to bed sores and not sure which mattress is right for you? This helpful guide will discuss pressure care needs and the different mattresses available for preventative care and comfort.
What is a bed sore?
A bed sore is formally known as a pressure ulcer and develops when fragile parts of the skin are put under pressure against a surface for long periods of time, reducing the blood supply to certain areas of the tissue. Skin tissue then starts to break down if pressure isn't relieved and can cause redness, blistering, pain and sometimes open wounds. Bed sores are categorised by health professionals to determine the risk, treatment and prevention. To read a more in-depth article on pressure ulcers and how they are categorised, click here.
Are you at risk?
The type of pressure care mattress you need will depend on how much you are at risk of developing a bed sore, if you already suffer with them or if you have in the past. Take a look at the categories below to learn more about your risk category:
Had a pressure sore before?
If you have suffered with pressure sores before then you are at a higher risk of developing another depending on your health status and age.
How long did it take to heal?
Bed sores that take a long time to heal happen due to the pressure on the effected areas not being effectively alleviated, resulting in the healing process being interrupted. When this happens some bed sores are difficult to treat or keep returning once an area has been affected. So if you have had bed sores before or if they are a regular occurrence for you, the you could be at a higher risk. If bed sores aren't a regular problem for you then a medium-high risk pressure care mattress could be enough to prevent sores from developing. However, if you always suffer with them or they take a long time to heal for you, a high-risk mattress would be more suitable.
Currently have a bed sore?
Then you are in a higher risk category because you are already suffering from a pressure ulcer, therefore the best mattress suited to your needs would be a high-risk pressure care mattress. A high-risk category pressure ulcer usually means that due to health, age or other contributing factors, such as a physical disability, is putting you at a continuously higher risk of developing bed sores. Find out which category of bed sore you have here.
Recent surgery or hospital discharge?
If you have had a recent hospital stay or you live with a long term physical disability which limits your mobility, then you are at higher risk of developing pressure ulcers. The most suitable mattress in this case is a high-risk pressure care mattress. Even if you do not have a bed sore that has broken the skin, if your condition means you are likely to be bed bound for a lengthy period then a pressure care mattress, like those used in hospitals, can prevent them from happening.
What do I do if I have a bed sore?
The best thing to do to treat bed sores is to reposition yourself regularly to relieve the pressure and allow the skin to heal. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines, that nurses and other health professionals use in clinical practice, state that someone at risk of a pressure ulcer should be repositioned every 6 hours. Those classed as high risk should be repositioned every 4 hours to redistribute the pressure. Other forms of treatment may be necessary alongside repositioning, depending on each individual case.
What are the differences in the pressure care mattresses?
So once you have determined your level of risk, you can take a look at the pressure care mattresses available. There are lots to choose from which can be overwhelming, but each person is different, and the level of risk is sometimes hard to determine. So read the descriptions of each mattress and if you are still worried about which one is right for you, our dedicated team can happily assist you in choosing the best mattress for bed sores.
Here are some examples of pressure care mattresses and who might use them:
These mattresses are appropriate for preventing bed sores or for those who can move themselves easily, either alone or with a carer. A static foam pressure care mattress like the Opera® Serene would be a suitable choice but there are also air therapy systems available. Perhaps if you already like your current static mattress, an overlay air system such as the Opera® Relieve can be placed on top of your mattress to prevent and treat bed sores with the use of alternating air therapy.
High-Very High Risk
People who usually fall into this category are usually bed bound or have limited to no mobility without a carer. Therefore, the best pressure care mattresses suited for this category are mostly air systems. There are static foam mattresses available in a very high category, such as the Opera® Ultimate, however alternating air therapy mattress systems such as the Opera® Eclipse ensure that pressure is relieved systematically and effectively.
Those on a turning plan from the hospital or carers would benefit greatly by using the Opera® AutoTurn Lateral Turning System, because the air cells do not simply inflate/deflate, but they do so systematically one side at a time, meaning the person is turned on their side at a 0-30° angle. The constant comfortable flow and turning gives the most relief from pressure sores.
- Pressure Care Mattress Buying Guide
- The Complete Guide to Pressure Ulcers
- 5 Steps to Prevent Pressure Ulcers