When mobility is reduced or limited and a person is confined to a chair or a bed, pressure injuries are a common problem. They usually occur when there is prolonged pressure on bony prominences such as the shoulder, elbow, heel, lower back, back of the head and the buttock area. These consequences are hard to treat and sometimes may lead to some serious complications.
For that reason, prevention is key to managing the areas that are at risk. Good hygiene, regular position changes, proper skin care as well as choosing the appropriate pressure aids for the patient are essential to prevent pressure injuries from developing. For that very reason, I’ve listed some of the factors you will need to consider when choosing pressure aids to ensure you make the best purchase.
As heat increases, the risk of developing ulcers increases as well. For that reason, patients who tend to get a lot hot and sweaty should use a cushion that keeps the surface temperature of the skin cooler. Gel and water are great in helping conduct heat away from the body. Some people may find gel being too cold for their body, and that’s not a good thing as too much cold may cause the metabolism of the cells that form the skin cells to slow down and absorb the much-needed oxygen slower.
The amount of moisture that’s produced is related to the amount of heat produced by the body. The absorption of it, however, is influenced by the material out of which the mattress or the cover of the cushion is made. For instance, covers that are made of toweling and cotton are absorbent. Water permeable materials, such as platilon, enable the vapor and air to circulate, in order to minimize sweating. Plus, they are also water-resistant, which means that in case a large amount of fluid is spilled on them, the cushion will still stay dry. Man-made materials on the other hand, like vinyl and nylon, are not absorbent and because they do not allow air to circulate, they may even cause excess sweating.
Pressure aids that are made of air, water, gel and memory foam move and conform to the shape and movement of the body of the person using them. Nevertheless, these products also decrease the ability to relieve pressure by leaning to one side as this way the surface moves with the user as well.