If you’re asking, “Are there any specialized support surfaces or cushions that can help relieve pressure ulcer pain?” then you’ve come to the right place. The truth is, pressure ulcers can be excruciatingly painful for those who suffer from them. This type of wound is often referred to as a “bedsore” because it mostly affects those with limited mobility who spend a significant amount of time (or even all their time) in bed. The elderly living in nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities are particularly vulnerable to these wounds.
However, there is hope because specialized support surfaces and cushions have been developed to alleviate pressure, reduce the risk of ulcer formation, and promote healing for existing wounds. In this article, we’ll take a glance at the various types of support surfaces and cushions designed to remove pressure, shift placement, enhance comfort, and significantly improve the overall well-being of sufferers.
Which support surfaces can effectively shift the body and alleviate pressure on ulcers? There are specific types of mattresses designed explicitly for the bedridden population, alongside other varieties of mattresses and cushions that offer various forms of relief. The use of these specialized support surfaces plays a significant role in promoting comfort and healing. In the following section, we’ll delve into how these support surfaces work and their remarkable benefits.
Pressure-relieving mattresses have a long-standing reputation as powerful tools for preventing pressure ulcers, and their effectiveness shouldn’t be underestimated. These mattresses take cutting-edge materials like memory foam, gel, or air cells to distribute body weight more evenly, effectively reducing pressure on vulnerable areas. You might even have a memory foam mattress in your own home. Memory foam works on a bunch of different maladies, from pressure ulcer relief to reducing back pain to improving sleep quality, and more.
- Memory foam is unique because it conforms to the body’s unique shape, relieving pressure points and enhancing overall comfort.
- Gel mattresses take layers of gel and disperse the pressure, which improves blood circulation .
- Air-cell mattresses come equipped with adjustable air chambers, which give personalized pressure relief. With the ability to tailor the mattress to your preferences, these mattresses give the best comfort and support.
- Low-pressure mattresses use memory foam to conform to the body’s unique shape, alleviating pressure points and providing comfort. They are highly effective in distributing body weight evenly.
- Low air loss mattresses are filled with air cells that have small holes in order to regulate the flow of air and reduce humidity. Because they prevent moisture buildup, these mattresses help maintain skin integrity and reduce the risk of skin breakdown and pressure ulcers.
Pressure-relieving cushions are especially good for those that spend extended periods sitting in chairs or wheelchairs. These cushions are sold everywhere and are available in different materials, like gel, foam, or air. They also come in different shapes and with different patterns. They provide essential support, balance, and comfort. Air cushions are one great example, with adjustable air cells that cater to individual pressure relief needs, making them ideal for wheelchair users.
The True Role of Support Surfaces
Hospital administrators and nursing directors often find themselves taken aback when pressure ulcers persist despite investing in sometimes expensive pressure “relieving” mattresses and cushions. It’s only natural for them to wonder why they’re using these costly devices if they’re not making a significant difference. However, it’s crucial to understand that these support surfaces aren’t simply meant to relieve pressure; their true purpose is to redistribute it effectively.
Therefore, we need to recognize that these surfaces are just one part of a broader prevention and treatment plan. So, you can’t just put a patient or loved one on an air cushion and expect them to be cured from present and future sores. To truly make progress, we must regularly evaluate each person and their specific pressure ulcer situation. This involves intensifying preventive measures and, if necessary, considering a switch to support surfaces that can better improve pressure, support, redistribution, shear reduction, and microclimate control.
Beyond using the right support surfaces, proper positioning and regular repositioning are key. Each stage of pressure ulcer requires specific strategies to ensure optimal care.
Support Surface Study
A 19-trial, 3,241-participant study found within the National Library of Medicine (NIH) indicates that the evidence regarding the effectiveness of curing pressure ulcers using support surfaces is not very conclusive. While these methods are believed to be beneficial, the extent of their effectiveness is uncertain. The study investigated both low-tech and high-tech support surfaces, including foam mattresses, water-filled support surfaces, air cushions, advanced pressure-relieving beds, low-air-loss beds and alternating pressure beds and surfaces. Despite the range of support surfaces tested, the results did not give a clear indication of the more effective surface. So, for this reason we know that pressure ulcers can be relieved using support surfaces, we just don’t know which ones work best.
The evidence is clear that support surfaces are beneficial in relieving pain and providing comfort for individuals with pressure ulcers. Studies have shown the effectiveness of specialized pressure-relieving mattresses, equipped with memory foam, gel, or air cells, in distributing body weight, alleviating pressure points, and enhancing overall well-being. Memory foam’s ability to conform to the body’s shape and provide personalized pressure relief is important, while gel mattresses and air-cell mattresses offer unique benefits as well, by promoting blood circulation and relieving pain.
Low-pressure and low air loss mattresses also help with maintaining skin integrity and reducing the risk of skin breakdown. Additionally, pressure-relieving cushions, such as air cushions, prove to be indispensable in supporting individuals spending extended periods in chairs or wheelchairs.
Contact Wound Care OC for wound treatment in Orange County, CA
Dr. Faried Banimahd is a board-certified physician specializing in emergency medicine, wound care, and pain management. Our team at WoundCare OC will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan that meets your needs and unique conditions. Our clinic includes highly trained and experienced physicians, registered nurses, and certified medical staff who work together to provide you with the highest standards of wound care treatments.