There are many options when selecting a hospital bed mattress and this information is intended to give an overview of low air-loss alternating pressure mattresses.
What are the benefits of an alternating pressure mattress?
Alternating pressure mattresses are made up of a series of air chambers that run horizontally across the sleep surface from side to side of the bed. These chambers support the weight of the person on the bed, but rather than a constant, unchanging, static surface, an alternating pressure mattress with the corresponding pump has the ability to deflate some of the chambers while still supporting the weight of the user overall. So for example, every third air chamber will deflate and then reinflate and another series of chambers in a different position under the user, will deflate in a rotating pattern so that different areas of the person's body experience a lack of pressure in set intervals.
When a person spends extended periods of time in bed and are unable to effectively reposition themselves, bed sores can form from the constant pressure caused by their weight on the mattress. This skin breakdown can be further aggravated by extended periods spent in a wheelchair or in other non-upright positions. Individuals with paralysis and other mobility issues may benefit from this type of non-constant pressure to either prevent or to help alleviate existing pressure sores. Some alternating pressure mattresses will also have a 'static' mode which does not deflate any of the chambers, but the real value of an alternating pressure mattress is from the rotating deflation of the chambers that support the user, giving relief to otherwise constant pressure between themselves and the mattress surface.
What does low air-loss mean and why is it beneficial?
In contrast to a non-medical air mattress, these mattresses that alternate pressure have to consistently pump air to make the movement of the pressure rotate between the various chambers. But an additional reason that the pump is continuous is that these chambers are designed with small ventilation holes. The reason for these holes can be twofold, they allow the chambers to deflate when air is stopped pumping into them, allowing for the alternating pressure function, but they also allow air to circulate within the mattress, and prevent stagnation that a non-medical air mattress without low air-loss can create. Surfaces that do not 'breathe' store heat and moisture which can increase the risk of sore development by creating a damp, warm, stagnant environment. The constant flow of air created by the low air-loss design helps keep the body cool and dry in comparison.
What if the power goes out and the pump stops?
All pumps are designed with an alarm alert when pressure is lost. In addition, some mattresses are designed with a foam base that can help protect an individual in the event that they are unable to get out of bed with or without immediate assistance before deflation.
Interested in viewing the various options for Low Air-Loss Alternating Pressure Mattresses?