A new study by the U.S. National Institutes of Heath has reported that newer, high-density foam mattresses used in nursing homes may not need to be turned every two hours as a way of preventing pressure ulcers, or bedsores. According to an article on NewsDay.com, the findings were recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Bedsores are injuries that occur to skin and tissue that develops from prolonged pressure on the skin. Those most at risk for bedsores are patients with a medical condition that limits their ability to move or change positions, those in wheelchairs, and patients who are in bed for long periods of time.
It is standard practice in United States nursing homes that patients are turned every two hours to prevent bedsores. This practice stemmed from the use of older mattresses with spring coils that can put added pressure on areas of the body where it is more likely for bedsores to develop, such as the heel, the hip, ankles, and the buttocks.
But this new research shows that newer, high-density foam mattresses don’t put as much pressure on a patient’s body as older spring coil mattresses. Their study involved randomly assigning patients on foam mattresses to be turned at intervals of two, three, and four hours. After three weeks, none of the residents had developed bedsores.
If high-density foam mattresses are used, the study asserts that patients won’t need to be turned as frequently and won’t need to be disturbed throughout the night. It could also allow nursing home workers to have more time to attend to other resident needs.