Frequently Asked Questions on Alternating Pressure Mattresses


What is the purpose of an alternating pressure mattress?

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.

Who needs Alternating Pressure Mattresses?

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.

How can you adjust the firmness or softness of an alternating pressure mattress?

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.

Do the air cells in the APM Mattress cycle?

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.

Is the pump noisy?

The pump is very quiet. You will hear a slight hum as the air pressure alternates.

Can this mattress be used with a high low hospital bed?

Yes, the mattress works with a hospital bed. It can be used in the sitting position as well.

Does alternating pressure mattresses help to avoid/reduce bedsores?

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

How to clean an APM 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.