Suggestions re pressure mattresses sought

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by DeborahBlythe, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. DeborahBlythe

    DeborahBlythe Registered User

    Dec 1, 2006
    My mum has an air wave or 'ripple' mattress to help ensure that she doesn't develop pressure sores. ( She is bed bound for three quarters of the 24 hour day)
    She also has a bed which can be adjusted so that the back/head rest rises to help her sit up or a variety of other permutations. eg her legs can be raised with or without the back rising too, amongst other tricks.

    The mattress is made of what looks like a thick green plasticky or rubber material and it must be a bit like lying on a child's lilo or inflatable water raft. The pressure for the air travelling through the mattress is set to match my mum's weight and if there is any interruption to the current or other fault, a beep goes off. I found out about these mattresses when my mum was in hospital last year and the one she had in hospital was a different texture and quite a good quality one, I think. On coming out of hospital she was 'prescribed' this same mattress by the District Nursing team and all was well. However, when she had to move to a nursing home, the NHS said they would not transfer the mattress too, so we had to ask the Nursing Home to supply one and the result is this very heavy duty mattress which would probably survive a tsunami.

    The thing is, my mum's room gets quite warm these sunny days and I am almost dreading the onset of another hot summer. She complains regularly of having an itchy back and insists that anyone nearby come and scratch her back vigorously for her and calls out 'Harder! HARDER!' until my heart is in my mouth at the thought that I might break her skin. I've mentioned the itchiness to the GP and to the care staff and they always say the same thing. ' It's probably the mattress making her hot and sweaty at her back'.

    I'm afraid that when the summer heat comes around my mum is going to be even more uncomfortable. Can anyone suggest a solution to this? Any recommendations about a pressure mattress, ( if necessary by PM)? We've tried covering the mattress with two sheets instead of one but this doesn't seem to make much difference. And I recall that you aren't supposed to cover the mattresses too thickly anyway, eg with Kylies,( how that girl managed to lend her name to an incontinence sheet I'll never work out) because it stops the ripple action taking effect across the skin.
    Can anyone recommend a pressure mattress that is capable of being used on a hospital-type bed which isn't going to increase my mum's sweatiness and itchiness?
    Thanks for reading this. It's not life or death but it's bugging me. Deborah
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Don't have any suggestions I'm afraid but oh boy, I've thought the same thing about Kylie!

    Edited to add: have you though about a flannel sheet (or two)?
  3. Cate

    Cate Registered User

    Jul 2, 2006
    Newport, Gwent
    Hi Deborah

    Sorry I’ve no real knowledge of the air mattress.

    Just a thought, and forgive me if its a stupid one, but could an upholsterer remove the existing cover, and recover it with a more breathable one!!

    Good luck in your quest.

  4. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    It might sound a bit crazy, but sheepskin is much easier on the body as it can keep you warm or cool. There are sheepskin mattress covers (very pricey I'm afraid) , alto' you might need two because of the incontinence problem . . . . ??? I suggest it is worth looking into. Nell
  5. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    Just had another thought! Can you rub cream into her back when she wants to be scratched. . . .?? I would guess her skin might be a bit dry and that would only make the itching worse. If she could tolerate it it might also allow you to give her a gentle back massage which would be soothing and relaxing. Just a thought. Nell
  6. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    #6 jenniferpa, Apr 13, 2007
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2007
    Thought of something else (thanks Nell). My mother is always (was always) complaining about itching skin, and like you I have been wary about scratching too hard. Following a stay in hospital when due to something or the other she little scratched every part of her body until it was bleeding she was prescribed a particular cream for wahing: problem is, I can't remember what is was! Began with a D I think: I'll try to find out. Anyway, the point being that she no longer has itchy skin.


    Edited to add: I think it's called Dermol
  7. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Registered User

    Aug 20, 2006
    AFAIk before the advent of air-mattresses etc, hospitals used to use sheepskin for bed-bound patients to prevent sores. Also regular rubs and perfume-free talcum powder.

    I don't think I'd fancy laying on top of a rubbery mattress for most of the day in very hot weather. It must cause hygiene problems too.
  8. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    E45 was the cream the nurses brought, however baby lotion seemed just as effective for my mother.
  9. DeborahBlythe

    DeborahBlythe Registered User

    Dec 1, 2006

    Thanks everyone for these suggestions. My mum does have E45 on prescription and also Aqueous cream , which may have been the one that you were thinking of, Jennifer.
    I'm going to give some thought to the sheepskin covers Nell, but I think that they might be too thick to permit the wave effect to work. Still, I think I've got to do something sooner rather than later.
    Cate, I don't think that an upholsterer would be allowed to get near it somehow, but I'll have a chat with the home this week and see what they think.
    I think the mattress may have to be replaced for the summer by something more conventional. Thanks for all your thoughts, everyone.
  10. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    Hiya Deborah - sorry I'm a bit late on this one but thought I'd throw this in in case it helps -just from my experience of living with two eczema sufferers in the house and having spent a small fortune over the years on protective mattress covers etc to no avail.

    Solutions to the 'itching problems' especially through summer months have included keeping bedrooms like ice boxes (well as far as domestic fans and coolers will allow) ....

    Hate that aqueous stuff .... we refer to it as 'the sticky gunge' ... another 'D' word we've had on prescription for washing and symptom relief is Doublebase - much easier to apply. Also had anthistamine medication prescibed - and at one point even a mild sedative for night time .....

    Another thought ... we identified a few years ago that using a different brand of washing powder for cotton covers could trigger a worse or better reaction ... don't suppose you've got any control over that?

    One source of relief my son has always loved is having his back rubbed periodically with a cool, damp flannel - trouble is that then has to be followed by reapplying some emollient ......

    Even if 'technically' it's not eczema ..... I wonder if the National Eczema Society could be of help - with products or other advice?

    Best of luck with it, Karen, x

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