Pressure management ulcer prevention as well as prevention of other superficial skin injuries is a vital aspect of inpatient hospital care. 70% of pressure ulcers are manageable by providing pressure management beds. This means that there is an ongoing demand for pressure management mattresses in the U.S. opening up a large growth potential for your company.
Patient care within a hospital must focus on support surface selection and identifying the products available to ensure patient comfort as well as the best possible surface for each patient's needs. It is unrealistic to provide exact support surfaces for each patient, however with the access to choices, such as the availability of various mattress pads, patient's comfort is enhanced. You can identify niche mattress market opportunities by better understanding the challenges hospitals face in providing adequate pressure management beds.
Tissue Load Redistribution
Support surfaces in patient care are designed to redistribute tissue loads allowing for pressure relief. Pressure relief is key in the prevention of pressure ulcers. There are specific requirements to make a pressure management bed effective and the mattress or mattress pad and the materials used in their manufacture work together to provide effective pressure management.
Active Support Surface
An active support surface is powered to allow redistribution through adjustments with or without applied load. An example of an active support surface is an alternating air mattress which contains air bladders that inflate and deflate as the patient changes position. This type of pressure management bed changes the pressure points over their body as they move.
Reactive Support Surface
A reactive support surface can be both powered or non-powered and changes its load only in response to applied load. An example of a reactive support surface is memory foam which contours to the body as the patient moves and changes position.
Friction and Moisture
Friction resulting from a patient moving in the pressure management bed can cause superficial injuries to the skin's surface such as skin maceration. When combined with moisture, this can lead to further complications such as infection. Sliding down the mattress when raised to an upright position can also cause friction.
Incontinence is an obvious concern for bed ridden patients. Keeping patients clean and dry is of the utmost importance and fabrics for pressure support mattresses must be effective to be easily cleaned as well as protect against moisture.
Pressure Management Bed Fabrics
Hospitals and other medical facilities are always mandated to find effective pressure management beds for their patients. It avoids complications for patients already in ill health. A major component in the design and manufacture of pressure management beds is the fabric. Here are some features hospitals look for in their mattress selection:
- Flame resistance
- Antimicrobial Fabric Protection
- Thermal Conductivity
- Fluid Resistance and Moisture Vapor Transmission
- Stain Resistance, Cleaning and Disinfection
Brands such as Sure-Chek® are developed with the support of the healthcare industry. Fabrics must be comfortable, safe and effective. Sure-Chek® is a thermoplastic fabric composite that is not only strong and durable but that also contains antimicrobial, antistatic and fluid resistant components. Medical fabrics such as these contain a controlled release antimicrobial system to fight bacteria. Medical fabrics used in pressure management beds must also be free of metals such as lead, chromium, cadmium and molybdenum. Moisture barrier fabrics can also protect from pest infestation, a nightmare for any facility. Elasticity is also an important feature of fabrics used on pressure management beds as this allows the fabric to stretch allowing the patient to sink into the mattress, but also allowing it to return to its original shape when the patient is removed.