Three Types Of Pressure Care For The Elderly
Pressure care is a huge part of the Occupational Therapists role with the elderly, or people with disabilities. Pressure care is used for people who have poor mobility, and who tend to sit in a chair, or lie in bed for long periods each day without moving around very much by themselves. This is needed because the body is not designed to stay still for long periods of time, so when it does stay still, force is placed on the skin and tissue by being pushed between the bone on the inside of the body, and whatever surface is being sat/lay on. This can cause skin breakdown and result in large wounds opening on the body that can take very extended periods, or even surgery to heal. To help prevent this there are three types of specially made mattress that can help to cover all risk levels of potential pressure injuries.
Single or dual layer memory foam:
These mattresses are designed for people who are at a medium pressure injury risk. They are made from a single or dual compound memory foam that moves to your body and ‘cocoons’ you inside of it. These mattresses are usually used for people who may need some help getting in and out of bed, can move themselves around a little bit in bed, who spend 9-12 hours in bed each day, and whose skin may be a little dry or flakey.
Multi-layer memory foam or combination of memory foam and air:
These mattresses are used for people deemed a high risk of pressure injury. They are made from either multiple layers of memory foam that are very soft at the top, and get harder closer to the bottom. This allows you to sink into the mattress through the soft layers, but be very supported by the firmer layers. This is the same with the combination style mattress with a firm air layer at the bottom of the mattress, and soft memory foam layers at the top. These mattresses are recommended for people who have great difficulty getting out of bed, do not move themselves around the bed very much, and spend a large amount of their day in bed.
Alternating air mattresses are designed for people at a very high risk of developing pressure injuries. These mattresses have multiple cells which are filed with air and a constantly running pump. This pump frequently changes the amount of air in each cell, placing the person’s weight in different areas of the body. This means that there is never pressure on one area of the body long enough to cause a pressure injury. This style of mattress is best used for people who spend the predominance of their day in bed, cannot move their weight around in bed by themselves, and have very thin skin, very dry skin, or have a history of previous pressure injuries.