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Looking for a bed that is great at preventing pressure sores

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    Looking for a bed that is great at preventing pressure sores

    I've recently had a gluteal myocutaneous rotation flap to repair a stage 4 ulcer on my coccyx. I'm now looking for a bed that will help prevent this from happening either on my coccyx or another part of my body.

    Does anyone have any experience with Tempur-Pedic, memory foam, foam beds specially advertised to prevent pressure sores or air mattresses?

    My surgery healed fantasically well on a Clinitron bed, and then the rehab facility ordered an alternating pressure air mattres, and in less than 24 hours I had red spots on my heals and the coccyx. So, now I'm back on the Clinitron til we can find a suitable bed that I can use for sitting up on the bed, getting rid of the dizziness that comes from laying flat on your back for 6 weeks and transferring on to my wheelchair.

    Any suggestions?
    Last edited by jeffyonker; 26 Dec 2010, 12:37 PM. Reason: Add an extra thought

    I have never had any faith in alternating air mattresses. They work by significantly INCREASING the interface pressures, then lowering them to roughly the pressures you would get with a LAL mattress, which supposedly helps with some type of massage therapy, but massage has little or no evidence basis for either prevention or treatment of pressure ulcers.

    A good quality low air loss (LAL) full mattress (NOT overlay) system works by lowering interface pressures, ideally with lower pressures in zones that have the highest risk when supine (sacrum, scapula and heels), as well as allowing air flow across the skin to reduce moisture risks (sweat, incontinence, etc.) which increases the risks for pressure breakdown.

    Foam such as memory foam work by evening out the pressures and redistributing them to reduce pressure over vulnerable areas. This material may have the disadvantage of holding heat close to the skin, which can increase metabolic (oxygen) demand, a disadvantage of those types of systems.

    None of these systems (nor a air fluidized bed like a Clinitron) guarantee no skin breakdown, nor completely eliminate the need for turning. In addition, heel pressure reducing boots should be used when using any of these systems, since it is possible to completely bridge (and therefore eliminate, not just reduce pressure) on this most vulnerable area when laying down in bed.

    In addition, if you sit up in bed with any of these systems, if sitting at higher than 30 degrees, you add the risks of shear damage to pressure damage to the sacrum and coccyx, plus start to add significant ischial pressures. Sitting up in bed should be minimized only to those times when absolutely necessary. Dizziness in your wheelchair can be better managed with an abdominal binder, TED hose, and Ace wraps if needed.

    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


      My observations have been consistent with KLD's. Our wound center does not recommend alternating mattress devices at all. Is there some reason you cannot sleep on your sides? If you sleep all night on your back, I doubt that an LAL mattress will be adequate. You have to keep in mind that your repaired area will never be as durable as it was before the breakdown. It really requires TLC from here on. When you do start sitting in your chair, make sure your coccyx is not pressing into your seat back. That can cause breakdowns too.
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        In theory, you would think that alternating air mattresses would work great for relieving pressure points. But, the only pressure sore I have ever had, I got in the hospital on an alternating mattress.
        I have had good luck with 100% foam rubber (not poly-anything). But, for 6 years, I have been using a Comfort Select (Sleep Number) Bed. Before I bought the bed, I went to the Comfort Select store and was pressure mapped (much like computerized pressure mapping for a wheelchair cushion). My sleep number is 50. I sleep on my back on top of a medical sheepskin. No skin problems. Now this is just me....but it works for me.

        I seem to recall several threads on this website about experiences with beds. Try a search on this site to find many more comments and opinions.

        All the best,


          I used to have horrible back pains and occasionally I still have muscle pain in my rear from sitting in a wheelchair 17+ hours a day... Originally I had a regular bed but I bought a latex foam mattress and it has solved my back issue and relieves pain from sitting after an hour or so of resting. I recommend one of those.
          I'm Sam.


            My co-worker bought a Tempur-pedic and she is in menopause .. I think she regretted it. They hold the heat.

            I sleep on an alternating air overlay ... works for me. I'm saving the big guns (LAL mattress) for when I'm older .. my work insurance will only cover $500 as well and those things are hella expensive.
            Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

            T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12