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The Biggest Risks to Your Stretcher Mattresses and How to Combat Them
There are numerous things to consider when you are shopping for a new stretcher mattress. Of course, you will want one that fits your stretcher and is fairly easy to use and maintain. But, do you know the main factors that will pose a risk to your stretcher mattresses and your patients’ well-being at the same time? These risks need to be factored into your decision when considering the best stretcher mattress for your business. Here is a look at some of the biggest risks to your stretcher mattresses and what you should look for to combat these risks.
Contamination from body fluids and other microbiological contaminants that can find their way into your mattresses and covers. Infections spreading from one patient to another is a serious problem in many hospitals. This is why technicians need to clean and disinfect their stretcher mattresses between patients. However, there are many things beyond our control, and our meticulous cleaning may not be as effective as we had hoped. So, how can you determine if your stretcher mattress is at risk of contamination? The first thing you need to look at is your mattress seams. Are these seams welded or stitched? Welded seams will ensure that there is no way for any type of liquid contaminants to enter and contaminate your mattress. On the other hand, a stitched seam may not prevent these liquid contaminants from entering your mattress. The next area to inspect would be the surface of the mattress. What is its condition? Are there any noticeable tears, rips, cuts or punctures? These flaws will allow contamination to occur, even with a cover. Remember it is easy for a cover to become worn or develop weak spots that allow contaminants to enter the mattress. It is best to replace the entire mattress if there are any worn spots or tears on it.
No protective layer to ensure patient comfort and well-being. In a perfect world, you would not want your patients to develop pressure sores from a mattress that does to properly hold them. You will need to consider how long your patient will be on the stretcher. It could be minutes, hours or days for some patients, and you will want to keep them as comfortable as possible during their entire time on your stretcher. If you feel as if your patient is going to bottom out on your stretcher, you will want to consider a mattress with a denser layer of foam on the bottom that is designed to prevent your patient’s body from making contact with the hard surfaces below it. You will want to look for high-density, closed cell foam to provide the most cushioning and comfort. And, you will need at least a .25” thickness for it to be effective. Remember the less dense your foam, the thicker you will need it to be.
Should you purchase a mattress that features a 2-way or 4-way stretch? You are probably asking yourself, what is the difference between a 2-way and a 4-way stretch mattress? A 2-way stretch mattress will only stretch in one direction, but a 4-way stretch mattress has the ability to stretch in two directions. We all know how frantic and complex the demands of the healthcare industry can be, so we can assume that the 4-way stretch mattress would be the best choice available. And, we would be correct. A 2-way stretch mattress will make your mattress more likely to tear or become damaged, which, as stated earlier, can lead to cross-contamination through liquid contaminants.
Choose the best surface to protect your patient’s skin. You will need to look at the different kinds of mattress surfaces to consider the best one for your patients. Remember when choosing that our skin can be sensitive to certain materials and certain materials are more likely to tear or pull at our skin. You will also want to consider a surface that is easy to clean and maintain. You do not want to choose a mattress surface that is unable to withstand all the cleaning needed to keep it safe for your patients. The best mattress cover would be one that is durable, comfortable for your patients and anti-allergenic in some cases. You will definitely want to look around and sample the many types available to find the best fit for your needs.
It may take a lot of time and research to find the best mattress for your stretcher, but it will be more than worth it when you consider the comfort and well-being of your patients. Remember to take your time and carefully consider all of the major risks listed above associated with stretcher mattresses, and you will find yourself well on the way to finding the best stretcher mattresses for your patients.