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What Is a Hospital Bed Mattress?

Hospital bed mattresses are typically thin, but designed to support bed-bound patients.
Hospital bed mattresses should be comfortable and flexible enough to bed with the bed.
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  • Written By: Norma Jean Howland
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 28 October 2014
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A hospital bed mattress is a specially designed mattress that is used in a hospital bed. This kind of mattress not only supports a patient in the prone position but can be raised and lowered at both the head and foot of the bed. A hospital bed mattress can be made out of different kinds of materials, depending on what type of patient it is used for. Most are filled with standard innersprings, foam, air, gel, or water. Some mattresses are used to prevent and treat bed sores, while others are aimed at providing support for heavier patients.

The appropriate hospital bed mattress can often be a key component in preventing bedsores or pressure sore ulcers. Unfortunately, when a patient is in bed for a long period of time, bedsores can develop if precaution is not taken. A low air loss mattress is designed to treat and prevent these kinds of pressure sores. This kind of mattress reduces shear, friction, and moisture while reducing pressure in order to prevent this painful affliction.

Some hospital bed mattresses are designed specifically with long term immobilized patients in mind. A hospital bed air mattress can improve circulation and may help to prevent bed sores. One type of air mattress has internal cells that are constantly being deflated and inflated to change pressure points for the patient. Another mattress is a lateral rotation mattress, which rotates the patient from side to side to alleviate pressure without waking the patient.

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Other types of mattresses that have been designed at keeping bed-ridden patients healthy are water and gel mattresses, which also provide relief from bedsores. Since water adapts to the patient's contours, it provides pressure relief and reduces the possibility of skin ulcers. A similar type of mattress is filled with gel, which operates in much the same manner as water.

Of course, a standard hospital bed mattress is often used for patients that are more mobile, and are able to get in and out of bed. This kind of mattress usually has either inner springs or foam inside. These mattresses come in different lengths and widths to accommodate various sized patients. For heavier patients, foam mattresses, made from high density polyester fiber foam are often used to provide maximum support. Both of these mattresses are usually available in firm or extra firm comfort levels, are fire retardant, and have a vinyl waterproof covering.

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