Everyone loves a good, comfortable mattress to sleep on, regardless of how much time we spend in bed. With so much choice, however—and often being a pretty expensive purchase—buying a new mattress is almost never a simple decision.
For those of us who have to spend extended periods of time in bed for medical reasons, the choice of mattress is even more important. Spending long periods of time in bed without moving around puts people at risk of developing bedsores.
These are painful for the patient, and can be very difficult to manage. Pressure-relieving mattresses are essential for bedridden patients, and can help to both prevent bedsores and create an environment where it’s easier for them to heal.
It’s time to examine this subject in more detail to find out more about these kinds of mattresses, and to find out which is the best mattress for bedsores.
Come on—let’s get started—no lying down on the job!
What Is a Bedsore?
Bedsores are also known as pressure sores, but the correct medical term is decubitus ulcer. They’re caused by maintaining a constant, unrelenting pressure on a particular area of the body.
Research studies tell us that over time, constant pressure applied to a specific area results in reduced circulation to that area. The skin then doesn’t get what it needs in terms of oxygen and nutrients, and the tissue in that area becomes damaged and dies.
To exacerbate the problem, the friction that occurs at the point of contact between the skin and the mattress can also contribute to skin breakdown and bedsores, and blood vessels that are stretched or stressed by long periods of immobility can also make things worse.
Bedsores occur most commonly in areas where there isn’t a great deal of soft tissue such as muscle and adipose tissue between the skin and the bone.
What Is a Mattress for Bedsores?
Simply put, a mattress for bedsores is a mattress that’s specifically designed for people who are confined to bed on an ongoing basis. They can take the form of several different designs, with some being made of foam and others that work on air pressure, and consist of individual chambers filled with air.
Others still can be based on chambers filled with water. These have been used since the 17th century to reduce pressure and reduce the risk of bedsores.
Some of the air-filled pressure-relieving mattresses are known as alternating pressure mattresses. This is because they have individual air cells which inflate and deflate alternately, giving one small area a break from supporting the body while the surrounding cells maintain body positioning.
Whatever the specific design, a mattress for bedsores aims to evenly distribute the pressure of the patient’s body pressing down into the mattress. Research published in the medical journal Age and Aging indicates that mattresses specifically designed for pressure redistribution can significantly reduce the incidence of bedsores.
One high-quality systematic research review involving 29 separate studies on support surfaces for pressure sores found that both foam contour and air-filled pressure-relieving mattresses are effective in preventing and treating bedsores, but was unable to identify which of the two types of mattress was more effective.
Who Needs a Mattress for Bedsores?
Everyone who has to spend an extended period of time in bed, and particularly those who are unable to leave the bed or move around in it are at risk of developing bedsores.
The constant pressure of the patient’s bodyweight means that certain areas are quite literally hot spots for bedsores, such as the heels, the hip/buttock area, and the elbows—if people spend a long time supporting themselves on their elbows.
Using a good-quality pressure-relief mattress can help to decrease the risk of bedsores—and they can also prevent small bedsores from developing into large, open wounds which can be very difficult to manage in a bedridden patient, and can easily become infected.
Below is an interesting video that explains how bedsores happen, how severe they can be and which parts of the body are most commonly affected:
When caring for a patient at home, it’s essential to monitor the condition of the patient’s skin, especially in the heel, lower back and buttock areas, since these are the areas most commonly affected.
Precautions for Use
Always make sure you set up and use your pressure-relieving mattress according to the manufacturer’s precise instructions.
According to professional nursing guidelines, it’s important to make sure you know how to use a pressure relieving mattress correctly. For example, you may need to turn or reposition a patient periodically to get the best from a specific mattress. If you don’t have a clear idea on how to use a pressure-relieving mattress, seek medical advice.
It’s still important to check for skin breakdown even while using a pressure-relieving mattress. Skin breakdowns can still occur.
What Is the Best Mattress for Bedsores?
When it comes to buying mattresses for bedsores, it can be a bit of a minefield. A few manufacturers dominate the market, which is frequently the case for products designed for a specific medical purpose. Some manufacturers offer multiple different models, and it can be quite difficult to choose between the various products—we’ve included two alternative options from the same company in our review.
Here are our top contenders for the title of best mattress for bedsores. They’ve all been tested to the max with our rigorous review process, and we’ve listed all the good and not so good points for each model to help make it easy for you to see which one might be most suitable for your needs.
If you or someone close to you is having to spend a lot of time in bed due to illness, it’s essential to keep a close eye on skin condition. Skin breakdown can occur very quickly, and a full-blown bedsore can be difficult to manage and slow to heal, especially if bed rest must continue. A good pressure-relief mattress can make a huge difference in reducing the risk of bedsores and in helping patients to recover from them.
All of the mattresses we reviewed have some great features which make them very useful for avoiding and managing bedsores. The one that really grabbed our attention was the Drive Medical Therapeutic 5 Zone Support Mattress. People really liked the varied support across the surface of the mattress, and the vast majority reported that they felt that the support really was directed where it was needed. Users found this mattress very comfortable to sleep on and didn’t get too hot, which can be a problem for some people.
The cross-cut upper layer of the mattress was also popular with users, who found it easy to move around with little friction or shearing force. People reported it was just as suitable for standard bed frames as the adjustable angle hospital beds.
Certainly, this mattress was considered high quality by the vast majority of people, who thought it did its job very well. Just to put the icing on the cake, it was also the least expensive. We think a mattress to beat this one to the title of Best Mattress for Bedsores would be very difficult to find.