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Air Mattresses for Prevention of Pressure Ulcers


Pressure ulcers are wounds occurring in patients with poor health and reduced mobility. They are caused by shearing forces and unrelieved pressure that may interrupt blood circulation to the skin tissues. There are effective preventative measures taken in hospitals that reduce the intensity and duration of pressure, which consequently lead to adequate blood supply to the tissues. One of the best mechanisms for relieving pressure and shearing forces is the use of air mattresses. This paper highlights how effective air mattresses are with the help of a case scenario using Maria Borg.

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Alternating pressure air mattresses (APAMs) are unique mattresses used in pressure ulcers patients and for those who have mobility problems. These mattresses generate high and low pressures between the body and support surface by alternating the inflation and deflation of air filled cells. The periodic pressure relief generated by APAM enables restoration of the blood supply to the underlying tissues. Research has shown that APAMs are effective reducing pressure ulcers relative incidence by about 69% (Health Quality Ontario, 2009).

Maria Borg is a patient assessed to be suffering from pressure ulcers. She is placed on air mattresses relieving her from the shearing forces and pressures accumulation. The use of alternating pressure mattresses in Maria’s case is useful, as she suffers from osteoarthritis causing her mobility problems. The article by Health Quality Ontario (2009) suggests that there is significant evidence that using alternating air mattresses is helpful in reducing the incidence of pressure ulcers. Alternating air mattresses help in the periodic reposition of the body enhancing flow of blood to all the underlying skin tissues. In Maria’s case, the use of air mattresses proves its significant help as she is less active and aged. With sufficient oxygen supply, the wounds heal faster, and the body repositioning relieves pressure from the skin tissues. The use of air mattresses in Maria’s situation is essential as it relieves the arching, pain and discomfort and other symptoms of osteoarthritis.


There is significant evidence that using air mattresses will help to reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers on Maria as well as improve her comfort while in bed. From the articles findings, air mattresses will serve as an alternative option to her mobility problems. Her condition will change with time with significant improvements showing complementary health care.

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