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How Do I Choose the Best Bariatric Mattress?

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  • Written By: Dorothy Bland
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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Choosing the best bariatric mattress means understanding that although all of these cushions are specifically designed to meet the needs of obese individuals, they have different weight-bearing limits. Some are designed for individuals who weigh less than 400 pounds (181 kilograms), and issues with sagging, loss of shape, and lack of comfort may be a problem for heavier persons. There are also mattresses, however, that can hold more than than 1,000 pounds (454 kilograms). If you will be sharing the bed with a spouse or partner, that person's weight should also be factored in to ensure the mattress will be safe to use. You will also need to consider mobility and durability issues to find the right bariatric mattress for you.

Mobility issues tend to come into play for bariatric patients in hospital settings and nursing homes who have problems turning or lifting their own weight. This can also be an issue of concern for those who require caregiver support in their own homes. If this is the case for you, you may need a bariatric mattress that reduces the likelihood of suffering from skin issues associated with being bed ridden, such as bedsores and skin abrasions. There are various styles of therapeutic pressure-reduction bariatric mattresses that can help prevent these issues, including foam mattresses and low air-loss options.

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Foam bariatric mattresses are engineered using multiple layers of high-density foam. These pressure-reduction mattresses keep weight evenly distributed, so they may be beneficial if you have back problems or need firmer support to make it easier to get on and off the bed. These mattresses are also an acceptable option for those not willing to buy a new bed frame. Most foam mattresses can be placed directly on your existing bed frame.

A low air-loss mattress is another type of pressure-reduction bariatric mattress to consider. These beds feature air cells that are inflated using an air pump. The powered beds use sensor technology to ensure patients remain stable, and controls usually allow settings to be adjusted to maximize patient comfort. Mattress construction also allows increased blood flow, wicks moisture away, and reduces friction so bedsores are less likely to occur. You may prefer this mattress type if you are looking for a portable and lightweight option or have a more elevated risk of developing pressure ulcers.

Usually, a bariatric mattress is more expensive than an ordinary mattress, so you will want to make sure you buy a durable bed to guarantee extended mattress life. Heavy-duty mattresses, for instance, may feature waterproof top covers to keep the mattress protected from spills and molding. If you are looking for a mattress appropriate for obese individuals in a health care setting, one that has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties may be preferred to increase cleanliness. You may also want to pick a bariatric mattress with an extended warranty to protect against future damage.

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