Pressure ulcers, also known as pressure sores, pressure wounds or bedsores, are a significant health problem affecting many people, especially those who are bedridden or have limited mobility. Pressure ulcers occur when there is prolonged pressure on the skin and soft tissues, causing damage to the skin and underlying tissues. These wounds can be painful, slow to heal, and can lead to serious complications such as infections, sepsis, and even death.
How do pressure wounds occur?
Over time, varying for each individual, the small vessels in microcirculation collapse under pressure and form clots, leading to blood being unable to return to the area and the tissue’s health deteriorating until the cells die and turn black.
Numerous factors, including age, mobility, weight, and medication, can make someone more susceptible to developing pressure ulcers. Although it may not be possible to eliminate the factors that cause pressure ulcers completely, managing pressure and shearing and monitoring microclimate can be highly beneficial.
How can your mattress help to treat and prevent pressure sores?
Fortunately, you can prevent and treat pressure ulcers, and one of the most effective measures is using pressure care mattresses. These specialised mattresses distribute pressure evenly across the body, reducing the risk of pressure ulcers and promoting healing in those who already have them.
Pressure care mattresses use materials and technologies to redistribute pressure, providing support and cushioning to the body. Some mattresses use foam or gel layers to reduce pressure, while others use air or fluid-filled chambers that adjust to the patient’s body position. Some pressure care mattresses have alternating pressure settings that periodically shift the patient’s weight to different body areas, reducing the risk of pressure ulcers.
By providing the necessary pressure relief, the appropriate support surface can prevent the development of pressure ulcers. When purchasing mattresses, look for the following features.
Skin shearing describes the damaging effect of friction and tearing forces on the skin and underlying tissues when a person moves or is repositioned on a surface, such as a mattress or a chair.
When a person is lying or sitting on a surface, their skin can be pushed or pulled in different directions, causing the layers of tissue beneath the skin to slide over each other. This can result in the skin being pulled away from the underlying tissues, causing damage to the blood vessels and capillaries that supply the skin with oxygen and nutrients. Over time, this damage can lead to the formation of pressure ulcers.
To prevent skin shearing, mattresses and support surfaces need to be designed to minimise friction and reduce the risk of the skin being pulled or stretched. This can be achieved through smooth materials with low-friction surfaces, as well as through specialised features such as contoured surfaces and air-filled chambers that distribute pressure evenly across the body. Regular repositioning and using specialised cushions can also help reduce the risk of skin shearing and prevent pressure ulcers from developing.
Microclimate refers to the temperature and moisture conditions of the skin’s surface and the immediate environment around it. In the context of pressure care mattresses, microclimate properties refer to the ability of the mattress to regulate the skin’s temperature and moisture levels, thereby reducing the risk of skin damage and pressure ulcer formation.
Pressure care mattresses with good microclimate properties are designed to allow air to circulate freely around the body, reducing the buildup of heat and moisture that can lead to skin breakdown. They may also incorporate specialised materials, such as breathable fabrics and moisture-wicking layers, to help regulate temperature and moisture levels and prevent the skin from becoming too hot or damp.
Maintaining a healthy microclimate is important for preventing pressure ulcers, as skin that is too hot or moist is more susceptible to damage and breakdown. By managing the temperature and moisture levels of the skin’s surface, pressure care mattresses can help reduce the risk of pressure ulcers and promote overall skin health.
Offloading is a term used in pressure care to describe the process of reducing pressure on a specific area of the body, typically a bony prominence, to prevent the development or progression of pressure ulcers. Offloading is an essential strategy for preventing pressure ulcers, as prolonged pressure on a single area of the body can cause damage to the underlying tissues and lead to the development of pressure ulcers. By redistributing pressure across a larger surface area, pressure care mattresses can help to reduce the risk of pressure ulcer formation and promote overall skin health.
Offloading occurs through various techniques, including manual repositioning, specialised cushions, and advanced pressure relief systems in pressure care mattresses. The specific method used will depend on the individual’s needs and level of risk for pressure ulcer development.
Types of Pressure Care Systems
The type of mattress that would be most appropriate will depend on the seriousness of the injury.
Alternating Air Mattresses
Alternating air mattresses use a set pattern of inflated and deflated air cells to create a rolling motion that redistributes pressure across the body.
OSKA Alto mattress
The OSKA ALTO Series3-V4 is an alternating air, full replacement pressure care mattress. This full-replacement pressure care relief system prevents and treats pressure damage up to and including category 4.
The outer cover of the OSKA ALTO mattress is made from bi-elastic PU/Polyester coating, a vapour-permeable material with elastic properties, allowing for interface movement to help lower the risk of shear damage.
The “easy-to-use” fully digital pump has clear weight and alternating cycle settings.
Fluid immersion mattresses
Fluid immersion mattresses are filled with a liquid that conforms to the body’s shape, reducing pressure on bony areas.
The DolphinCare™ System sets the standard for optimal wound care, especially for complex wounds. Its innovative design utilises Fluid Immersion Simulation® (FIS®) technology to mimic the effects of a body submerged in a liquid environment, providing minimal tissue distortion and improved blood flow. As a result, patients experience enhanced tissue perfusion and wound healing.
The DolphinCare™ System boasts a robust and creative frame that minimises the risk of injury for both patients and caregivers. Its flexibility enables it to be adapted to suit any room or configuration. It is a comprehensive solution that is user-friendly and simple to use, while still delivering superior wound care results, reducing injury risks, and promoting early patient mobility.
The Fluid Immersion Simulation technology of the Dolphin System is highly effective in treating pressure ulcers up to Stage IV, as well as for patients with post-operative flaps and grafts. It is also ideal for patients who are unable to turn or reposition themselves due to their medical condition or those for whom these interventions may be harmful, such as those at risk for further complications. Additionally, patients with spinal cord injuries may benefit from the Dolphin FIS System once their acute injury has been stabilised and cleared by a physician.
Foam mattresses are formulated from high-density foam that conforms to the body’s shape, providing even support and reducing pressure on bony areas.
OSKA Fika Series 2-V2 Mattress
OSKA FIKA is a specialist foam mattress suitable as an aid in preventing and treating pressure damage up to and including category 2. With official statistics showing that 85% of pressure ulcers are category 1 or 2, this innovative mattress will help dramatically reduce the need for air mattresses.
The OFFLOADER function can be used to suspend the heel for ‘zero pressure’, making it suitable as an aid in preventing and treating heel ulcers up to and including category 4.
The specialist top foam layer on the OSKA FIKA mattress has excellent micro-climate management properties as well as providing ultimate patient comfort.
Hybrid foam-air mattresses
Hybrid foam air mattresses combine the features of foam and alternating air mattresses to provide support and pressure redistribution.
Aria+ Hybrid Pressure Care System
The Aria+ mattress by Enable Lifecare uses the latest air cell technology to help formulate a comfortable and effective mattress for pressure care and prevention.
The air cells react instantly whenever a patient is repositioned, this helps to equalise pressure areas.
For patients who are at lower risk (experiencing up to level 2 pressure care injuries), the Aria+ can be used on its own. But, with the addition of the pump, the mattress can provide comfort, prevention and treatment of pressure care wounds up to categories 3 and 4.
The importance of pressure care mattresses cannot be overstated. Pressure ulcers are a serious and often preventable health issue, and the use of pressure care mattresses is a simple and effective way to reduce the risk of developing these wounds. Pressure care mattresses can promote healing and prevent further complications for those with existing ulcers.
To learn more about how our pressure mattresses can assist your client, call us at 1300 370 370 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.