Addressing pressure wounds in the home

Addressing pressure wounds in the home

Posted by Tom Swalm on May 14th 2024

Selecting a therapeutic mattress can be incredibly overwhelming.  It doesn't make it any easier that the vast majority of medical professionals use incorrect terminology.  You have probably heard the term low air loss mattress.  Low air loss therapy is actually referred to as microclimate management.  It describes a specific class of treatment mattress that addresses moisture issues associated exudating wounds, or moisture associated with specific Braden Scale measurements. The reality, only about 5% to 10% of wound patients actually require true "low air Loss."  The majority of patients only need alternating pressure or lateral rotation.  There are options that offer one, two, or all three of these treatment modalities.  

How do you make the right choice?

If the patient is experiencing sweating, yeast growth, wounds that leak fluid, or has a total inability to reposition themselves the low air loss or microclimate management products are usually your best bet.  Severely obese patients tend to require this treatment modality more than the general population.

Alternating pressure will ensure there is never consistent pressure on any one point of the body for an extended period of time by shifting air between air cells to allow for offloading of pressure on the body.  This is accomplished through the use of a pump that moves the air periodically.  You may have been told your loved one needs to be turned every few hours to ensure they completely remove pressure from a wound area.  The issue is this requires both the patient to be disturbed during the night as well as the caregiver. Lateral rotation mattresses will typically provide a 20 degree turn every 12 to 15 minutes during the night.  This is subtle enough to not wake the patient and it allows the caregiver to get much needed rest.  Switching between the different treatment modalities is very simple and can be explained to you by one of our product experts.  

Sheering forces on the body.  The vast majority of wounds are actually caused by sheering forces on the body.  This is why good quality medical grade mattresses are actually classified as sleep on not sleep in with respect to the level of firmness.  The reality is something like a full immersion foam/memory foam mattress are some of the worst products for those at risk of sheering and skin tears. Just the right amount of immersion is what you are looking for instead of fully sinking into the bed.

Check out the image below to learn more.