We have reviewed the best alternating pressure mattresses for bed sores for you. If you are in a hurry, the table below gives a quick snapshot. Or you can scroll down for detailed product reviews.
If you are taking care of a loved one who is confined to bed for a large part of the day due to advancing age, injury or illness, you may have come across helpful advice on how to avoid pressure sores, skin breakdown, rashes and skin ulcers from your doctor/medical practitioner.
Skin ulcers and pressure sores are caused due to accumulation of pressure on certain parts of the body which are constantly in contact with the surface of a bed or wheelchair. Pressure sores can be painful and deleterious and can aggravate what may already be a difficult situation for your loved one.
One of the ways in which you can avoid these painful pressure sores is to find a mattress specially designed to redistribute the pressure which is causing them in the first place. An Alternating Pressure Mattress is one such mattress system that has been created specifically for this purpose.
What is an Alternating Pressure Mattress?
An alternating pressure mattress is an air mattress that consists of several small pockets of air (known as bladders). An air pump is used to push air in and out of these pockets automatically.
The mattress uses a system through which the pockets are alternatively inflated and deflated, ie, half the pockets are inflated at any point of time and the other half are deflated. In the next cycle, the inflated pockets are deflated and vice versa. This helps to constantly redistribute pressure on the body of the person lying down on them.
Redistributing pressure ensures that blood flow in the various parts of the body remains consistent, thereby reducing the chance of a pressure sore or skin ulcer.
Typically these mattresses have preset cycles of air inflation and deflation. You can use these to set the frequency of pressure shifts that will give comfort to the patient based on how much discomfort they are currently in.
While most of the mattress has alternating inflated and deflated air bladders, the head region of the mattress has a single air bladder, which makes it stable and therefore it can act as a bed pillow for the person resting on the mattress.
Alternating pressure mattresses help improve blood circulation and heal the patients’ wounds quickly and effectively.
Below is a video explaining what is a bedsore and how to prevent bedsore from occurring while at home.
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What to Consider when Buying an Alternating Pressure Mattress?
You need to consider the quality, maximum weight capacity, portability and noise that an alternating pressure mattress makes, before choosing one.
While alternating pressure mattresses are fairly expensive, it does make a lot of sense to ensure that only the best quality material (such as medical grade PVC) goes into making the pads.
As your loved one would be spending a lot of time on the mattress, quality material will make sure that they are comfortable and get the full benefit of the alternating pressure mechanism.
Maximum Weight Capacity
Each air mattress comes with a manufacturer warning of the maximum weight that the mattress can support when the patient is lying down on it.
Make sure that the mattress you are buying is comfortably able to support the weight of your loved one. Try to keep a buffer of at least a 100 pounds when making a buying decision (for example, if your loved one weighs 200 pounds then buy a mattress that can support up to 300 pounds).
This ensures that if your loved one gains weight over time, the mattress will support them and also keeps a healthy buffer in case a heavy item is placed on the mattress. If you are looking for a mattress that can support a high weight capacity, you should read the best mattress for overweight elderly.
It is best to have a mattress that can be easily installed on your bed without the assistance of many people – light and portable mattress can be useful in such circumstances.
Due to the constant inflation and deflation of the alternating pressure mattress, the air pump needs to work almost constantly and it usually gets noisy.
Apart from this, most patients are advised to use the mattress throughout the day as well as the night. Therefore it is very much possible to get stuck with a very noisy mattress. Before making a buying decision, one needs to ensure that the air pump is not very noisy.
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Best Alternating Pressure Mattresses for Bed Sores Reviews
Below, we have reviewed the best alternating pressure mattresses for bed sores. We have included their benefits and compared their pros and cons.
#1 Alternating Pressure Mattress by Vive
The Vive Alternating Pressure Mattress comes equipped with all necessary equipment and accessories to simply plug and play into either your hospital or your home hospital bed.
It is a 36-inch by 78-inch mattress which snugly fits into most hospital beds, which are themselves 36-inch by 80-inch in size.
It comes complete with the mattress pad and the air pump. The variable pressure pump is very quiet and comes with preset air flows for maximizing the user’s comfort and convenience.
The mattress can support up to 300 pounds, which is more than enough for most average-sized users.
The mattress has constant flow cycles for even pressure distribution which is very helpful in the case of bedsores.
- Standard size fits hospital beds easily
- Comes with a mattress pad and pump included
- Quiet Air pump
- Maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds
- Fairly expensive
- It is a non-refundable item on amazon
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#2 Drive Medical Med Aire Alternating Pressure Mattress
This is a combination therapy mattress with both alternating pressure and air loss systems combined so as to optimize the pressure redistribution and reduce bedsore.
The mattress can operate in either mode, based on the requirement of the user and which mode feels more useful to them.
There are 20 air bladders, each 8 inches deep which are easily removable. The air pressure pump controls the inflation and deflation of these bladders.
The 3 air cells near the head of the mattress are kept in a static mode so that the user can use them as a pillow.
A nylon cover is provided with the mattress. The cover is low-shear resistant to liquids, vapor-permeable and quilted. It is perfect for patients who also suffer from incontinence.
The air pump is very quiet and produces constant air-flow.
The mattress is perfectly sized as 80X36X8 inches and can carry a maximum weight of up to 350 pounds.
- Combination air loss and alternating pressure system can work in either mode
- Quiet air pump
- Head of the mattress kept in static mode
- Nylon cover provided along with the mattress
- Maximum weight capacity of 350 pounds
- Some users have complained that the mattress loses air after a few months
- No product warranty, poor service complaints
#3 Premium Alternating Air Pressure Mattress
This premium mattress provides comfort and relief from bedsores caused by extended bed rest. It is made with premium vinyl and supports a maximum weight of up to 300 pounds. The mattress is waterproof and the pad easily fits on any existing mattress as well. The air hoses included with it are flexible and can be easily installed.
The variable pressure pump is very quiet and produces constant air-flow at multiple levels of pressure Each cycle is 6 minutes long.
There are 130 air cells in the mattress. Each air cell is heat-sealed for leak protection.
- Quiet air pump
- Max weight capacity of 300 pounds
- Made from premium vinyl
- Some users complained that the product stopped working after a few days
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#4 Meridian Alternating Pressure Mattress
This mattress can be used as an overlay above your normal one, to provide extra comfort and relief from bedsores. It eliminates the need to buy an expensive hospital bed and makes your sleep a lot more comfortable.
The compact pump provided withe mattress is very durable and has a heavy gauge. The mattress pad itself is made from premium vinyl with 130 individual bladders that provide comfort and are highly effective
The air pump has several preset settings, wherein you can make the mattress as soft or hard as is to your liking. The air tubes in the mattress are leak resistant and can support up to a maximum weight of 300 pounds. The mattress has a cycle time of 5 minutes.
Mattress size is 110X 35X2.5 inches. There is a 1-year product guarantee for this product
- 130 air bladders
- Preset settings to change softness as per your comfort
- Leak-resistant air tubes
- 1-year product guarantee
- Some users complained that the mattress was too hard at the softest setting
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Alternating pressure mattresses are the most recommended means of preventing bedsores. The alternating action of air bladders being inflated and deflated evenly distributes pressure across the user’s body, reducing friction and gently comforting the user’s body.
The 4 options that we have provided are the best available on amazon after considering all factors that we had shared in the earlier section of the article. However, as usual, please refer to your doctor or medical practitioner before making any buying decision, as they will be the best to guide you on your specific needs.