An alternating pressure mattress is a technologically advanced medical mattress that alternates pressure on the patient's body to prevent skin breakdown and provide protection from bedsores and pressure ulcers. It can be used both at home and in a hospital environment. Alternate air pressure mattress is useful for not only the patient but also the caregiver as they don't have to worry about constantly moving the patient in bed. Air alternating pressure mattress system helps patients with burns, Multiple Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease, etc. With more comfort and relief than standard foam or innerspring mattresses.
Individuals who are confined to the bed for long periods of time with minimum mobility are at high risk for bedsores or pressure ulcers. Bedsores are injuries on the body caused by constant contact with the mattress leading to shearing of the skin in which parts of the skin get stuck to the mattress leaving open sores on bony areas of the body – hips, tailbone, ankles, and heels. Bedsores may develop if there is frequent skin friction with the mattress or poor blood circulation because of kidney disease, diabetes, or heart conditions.
An alternating pressure mattress has air bladders positioned laterally or length-wise all along. They deflate and inflate under the body, thereby alternating pressure points, promoting blood circulation and relieving painful areas. The mattress is accompanied by a quiet, adjustable air pump which is easy to use and helps provide greater circulation. Rows of oblong air cells are inflated and deflated using the pump. The air pressure of the mattress is continuously changed to keep body fluid and blood flowing freely. This method of pressure relief provides respite from pressure to every part of the body at some point.
Some pressure-reducing mattresses have perforated air cells. These provide very low interface pressure allowing the patient to hover just above the mattress surface. This offers exceptional pressure relief.
Air cells in the mattress inflate and deflate alternately, thereby changing pressure points constantly and promoting circulation. Inflated air cells provide support to the patient, while the deflated air cells offer pressure relief to the skin. First, one cell will inflate, then deflate and then re-inflate. This same procedure is followed by an adjacent cell and so on. The up-and-down motion is very gradual, and the patient does not feel it at all. This movement continues all along with the mattress, except for the patient's head area, in a gradual wave-like motion. The cycle time of the up-down movement can be customized as per the patient’s need. Generally, a cycle time of 10 minutes is set.
Air alternating pressure mattress systems are available in high-density foam and layered foam at Health Products For You. The Proactive Protekt Aire 1500 alternating pressure mattress pad + pump has a cycle time of 10 minutes and a weight capacity of 300 lbs. The interface pressure can be controlled by adjusting the airflow. Combining a low-air-loss system with alternating air pressure provides constant cool, dry airflow, which speeds up the healing of bedsores.
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APM mattresses have air-filled channels that alternate filling up and decompressing to keep bearing weight off certain areas. These mattresses allows blood flow to reach different areas of the body of immobilized or weak patients who cannot shift their weight independently.
An alternating pressure mattress is advisable to be used for patients who are likely to spend more than 15 hours per day in bed or for those who are classified as medium to high risk of developing pressure ulcers, or bedsores.
People at higher risk are typically: seriously ill, immobile, have spinal cord injury, do not eat a proper diet, wear prosthesis, smoke, are incontinent of stool or urine, have diabetes, have COPD or heart failure, have Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or heart failure, have broken hip or hip surgery.
The air pressure can be adjusted using the control panel. There are buttons to adjust softness / firmness of the mattress in accordance to the needs of the patient.
Yes air cells in an APM mattress do cycle. The air-filled channels alternate from inflating to deflating to help vary the pressure and reduce the risk of pressure sores and ulcers.
The pump is very quiet. You will hear a slight hum as the air pressure alternates.
Yes, the mattress works with a hospital bed. It can be used in the sitting position as well.
Yes, the alternating pressure mattress can be used in prevention and healing of bedsores. The mattress relieves pressure from vulnerable areas so that sores do not develop. However it is still recommended that you carry out traditional further inspection of turning the patient and observing high risk areas regularly, and to not solely rely on the mattress
Before cleaning your mattress make sure to disconnect from the electrical outlet. Use a damp towel with mild soap and water to wipe down, and then dry with a soft towel. You can also wipe down with alcohol wipes or light rubbing alcohol.