A pressure relieving mattress is a special mattress that patients use when they are at risk of developing pressure areas (pressure sores).
Typical ICU Mattress
What are Pressure Areas?
Pressure areas are a complication that can occur when a patient is sick and in bed for long periods of time. Pressure areas are areas of localised damage to skin and underlying tissue caused by pressure, friction or shearing. They generally occur on a bony prominence (tailbone, heels), but can occur anywhere on the body where there is pressure for long periods of time.
How Do Pressure Relieving Matresses Work?
Pressure relieving mattresses are aimed at redistribution of pressure on a patient's’ body. The mattress works by a series of individual cells, which gently inflate and deflate alternately. During these periods of pressure reduction, the maintenance of blood and oxygen supply to the skin and underlying tissue is assisted. This helps prevent skin breakdown.
The pressure relieving mattresses in the ICU must be suitable for radiographic use (x-rays), emergency procedures, (e.g. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation), and must comply with Department of Health Infection Control Guidelines.
Are There Any Complications?
All Intensive Care interventions and procedures carry a degree of potential risk even when performed by skilled and experienced staff. Please discuss these issues with the medical and nursing staff who are caring for the patient.
Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, please discuss them with the ICU nurses and doctors.
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The information contained on this page is general in nature and therefore cannot reflect individual patient variation. In addition, this information reflects Australian Intensive Care practice which may differ from that of other countries. It is meant as a back up to specific information which will be discussed with you by the Doctors and Nurses caring for your loved one. ICCMU attests to the accuracy of the information contained here BUT takes no responsibility for how it may apply to an individual patient. Please refer to the full disclaimer.
Pressure Relieving Mattress V ersion 1.2
F irst published June 2004
Reviewed November 2011
Reviewer Kay Johnson CNS ICCMU