Pressure pads: What tool will prevent my mother from getting pressure ulcers?

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What tool will prevent my mother from getting pressure ulcers?

Question

My mother spends a lot of time laying in bed and as a result, she has become prone to pressure ulcers, especially on her elbows and lower back. I am her only caregiver and unfortunately, due to my work schedule, I don’t have time to move her regularly throughout the day. Do you know of any tools that will help to prevent her from getting bed sores?

Our answer

There are a number of factors that can contribute to pressure injuries, including moisture, poor nutrition, increased friction/shear and reduced mobility. 

Thankfully, there are a number of pressure relief systems available commercially that are designed to help prevent bed sores. Below are some direct links to examples of products you may wish to explore:

  • Alternating Pressure Mattress by Vice (at amazon.ca) is a mattress overlay pad with 130 individual air bubbles that relieves pressure ulcers and bed sores. This product will hold up to 300 pounds and costs about $200 to $250 (Cdn).
  • Med-Aire Alternating Pressure Pump with Pad System, by Drive MedicalMed-Aire Alternating Pressure Pump with Pad System by Drive Medical (at amazon.ca) is similar to the product mentioned above. This pressure relief system comes with 130 inflated cells that can be inflated or deflated at 5-minute intervals, ensuring that excess pressure is never placed on one area of the body. This product, which measures 78 inches x 36 inches x 2.5 inches, costs about $200 (Cdn).
  • Roho Dry Floatation Mattress Overlay (at HME Mobility & Accessibility) is a non-powered, adjustable and advanced pressure-relieving mattress overlay that helps heal advanced stage ischemic ulcers. This mattress overlay can be purchased for about $1,100 (Cdn) or can be rented monthly from HME Mobility & Accessibility for about $165 (Cdn) per month. For more information, you can contact HME Mobility & Accessibility toll-free at 1-778-734-1397.

You may also be interested in knowing about medical-grade sheepskin products, designed to relieve pain associated with pressure sores.

  • Medical Sheepskin Underlay by Minidoka Sheepskin (at amazon.ca) is a medical-grade lambskin underlay that is beneficial in the relief of pressure sores. This product costs about $260 (Cdn).
  • Sheepskin Heel/Elbow Pads, by Parsons ADLSheepskin Heel/Elbow Pads by Parsons ADL (at Seniors Store) are made of medical grade sheepskin and are used to prevent bed sores. This product, which comes in a pair and is easily hand-washable, costs about $80 to $85 (Cdn), plus an additional shipping fee. 

Finally, while these products can help reduce the risk of further pressure ulcer development, they are not an appropriate substitute for regular repositioning. It is highly recommended that your mother is repositioned every 2 to 3 hours, and spend time sitting up in a chair or wheelchair for as long as tolerated. You may wish to visit the Ability411 resources page for information on home and community care and support in your area. 

 

Some technologies and devices may require an in-person assessment. Speak with your health care provider for additional information and support. 

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