It is important to consider the holistic care of the resident/patient and use clinical judgement, making decisions based on the answers.
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Q. If a patient has a pressure ulcer and they need to sit or lie on it for some of the time, is it better to have the cells alternating beneath the wound or to off-load the wound completely.
A. There are several schools of thought regarding wound healing and, unfortunately, there is no definite answer as it depends on the location and origin of the wound, the inherent condition of the patient and the performance of the support surface.
Q. Can I use fitted sheets on ACTIVE (alternating pressure) therapeutic mattresses?
A. Use a fitted bed sheet with minimal effect on mattress performance
We understand that you may wish to use fitted sheets and so we offer the following advice:
- Ensure the sheet is the correct size to fit a deep-cell, air-filled mattress so that stretching or ‘hammocking’ does not compromise the benefit of pressure-redistribution associated with cell deflation.
- Use a 4-way stretch sheet for minimal interference of cell deflation in active/alternating therapy surfaces. This is also important when using Reactive/constant low pressure surfaces which reduce pressure through a process of body immersion and envelopment. The effect is likely to be less marked in reactive systems, but further work is required.
- Ensure the sheet does not impede observation and access to mattress controls such as Wound Valves.
- Ensure the sheet does not interfere with access, visibility or operation of CPR controls.
- If using a fitted sheet for the first time, with a patient previously nursed on a loose non-fitted sheet, do not assume that repositioning and skin assessment intervals will remain the same.