Ask the Treatment Expert about ... support surfaces

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Jeri Lundgren, RN, BSN, PHN, CWS, CWCN, CPT
Jeri Lundgren, RN, BSN, PHN, CWS, CWCN, CPT

We are evaluating preventive and therapeutic support surfaces for our beds. What should we consider most?

The bed's support surface can help prevent and treat pressure injuries. When evaluating support surfaces, ask the manufacturer:

• How does the product manage the microenvironment (moisture and heat)? • Does the cover reduce friction and shear forces?

• How is it cleaned and disinfected? • If the cover is removable, are the seams or zippers covered and protected from fluids entering?

• Does the manufacturer have an algorithm for determining appropriateness of support surface to clinical risk and wound type?

• What is the warranty? If the product is foam, does the warranty cover compression of the foam, or is that considered cosmetic?

For powered support surfaces: • If the power goes out, does the surface remain inflated? For how long

 • If the surface becomes deflated, is there a protective base to prevent the resident from lying directly on the bed frame?

• Does an alarm go oƒ if the product is not functioning properly?

• If the product has a firm mode to make caregiving easier, does it automatically go back to a therapeutic mode when caregiving is finished?

• What is the weight limit?

• What is the delivery time for rented products?

• Does the product allow for immersion and envelopment into the surface?

The better a product can envelop (conform to) the resident and allow for immersion (sinking into the product), the better the pressure redistribution. When budgeting for support surfaces, allow for replacing the mattresses around the time the warranty is up.

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