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Foam Mattresses in Nursing Homes Can Reduce Bedsores

Foam Mattresses in Nursing Homes Can Reduce Bedsores

Nursing homes must work constantly to ensure the health and safety of residents. For bed-bound patients, health safety includes regular turning and repositioning to prevent pressure-induced injuries and bedsores. If this isn’t done every couple of hours, or sometimes even when it is, bedsores and other pressure-related issues can develop and may lead to hospitalization or infection. This makes preventing pressure sores an important goal for nursing home residents, their loved ones, and the staff.

A new study is shedding light on just how frequently residents have to be turned. It found that by utilizing foam mattresses, bedsores could be more effectively prevented. The research was conducted by University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Nursing and published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Traditional spring-coil mattresses were the norm when the two-hour standard was established for turning bed-bound patients. For more than 50 years, this has been viewed as the only way to keep bedsores at bay. By upgrading to a modern high-density foam mattress, however, body weight is more equally distributed across the mattress, and there are no coils to create pressure points.

The study looked at residents in 29 facilities, encompassing more than 900 bed-bound seniors. All of these residents had at least a moderate risk of developing pressure-related complications, and all had new foam mattresses. Each study participant was turned at two-hour, three-hour, or four-hour intervals for three weeks.

Not only can these foam mattresses help prevent bedsores, they can provide residents with a better quality of life. According to current protocols, residents are awakened every two hours through the night to be turned. Many seniors struggle to fall back asleep and consequently have trouble staying awake during the day. This finding doesn’t just benefit the residents — if workers in nursing homes don’t have to spend as much time on their rounds turning residents, they can focus on other needs.

While most nursing homes haven’t made the switch, more are considering it an option when upgrading their amenities. Of course, more studies should be done before the current protocols are amended. Even so, choosing a modern high-density foam mattress for yourself or your bed-bound loved one may be a good choice. This is especially true if there is an increased risk for pressure sores.

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