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According to significant review findings, expensive high-tech air columns are only slightly safer to stop sores and ulcers than an exceptional foam mattress. The high-tech products include air pockets that are inflated and faded to adjust skin pressures continuously. They cost £1,000 (US$1,217) per person. In contrast, a high-quality polyurethane and viscoelastic foam mattress are made of around EUR 200 (US$ 243) to cradle the patient to relieve pressure on his skin. Specialist foam mattresses are widely used in the NHS (National Health Service). The high-tech air colors are used in approximately 10% of NHS hospital beds. They are administered to patients at high risk of pressure ulcers even though an objective assessment of their efficacy has not been carried out. To research the high-technology mattresses’ value, a scientific test had been called for by the UK health regulator (the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence).
The study found that there was a slight increase in the usage of high-tech air columns. The paper concluded that only one patient would benefit from this for every fifty patients assigned to one high-tech air mattress. The findings revealed that 6,9% of patients with high-tech air colours, compared with 8,9% with the mother mat, formed a pressure sore grade two (i.e. Blister or skin break). The ulcers are rated on a 1-4 scale, four being the worst. In a high-tech air mattress, the median time for the ulcers to grow was 18 days compared with 12 days for patients on the specialist mom column. In the report, the total number of patients who developed pressure sores throughout the studies was lower than expected: The outcome, researchers conclude, was the improvement in nursing practice to reduce the burden of pressure sores.
The paper also states that the findings were less frequent than anticipated in the case of pressure sores in a randomized controlled sample. This is the world’s first large-scale analysis of high-tech air and specialized foam mattresses’ efficiency to prevent pressure damage. More than 2000 patients in the hospitals and NHS community groups were at high risk to develop pressure sores. This study was directed by Jane Nixon, Tissue Viability and Clinical Studies Professor at Leeds University. She said: She said: “The healthcare workers have been informed by the professional guidelines that if sufficient pressure distribution cannot be obtained, specialist mousse must be used for all risk patients and high-tech air color mattresses for patients with an established pressure ulcer. The air mattress is disturbing for some patients. They’re kept alert by the pump noise, feel insecure because the mattress shifts, or feel uneasy. “Patients who are rehabilitated often complain of being unable to get around or get out of bed — exacerbating already reduced mobility.” For two months or until release, the patients who agreed to be involved have been randomly assigned to either the high-tech air or a specialist foam mattress. They were then tested 30 days after their escape by a nurse. The majority of patients with a median age of 81 were elderly and included some patients over 100 years old. The study indicated that the most beneficial patients in high-tech air coloring were entirely immobile, confused patients with nutritional shortcomings and very red skin in a pressure area.
Since the patients cared for had marginally shorter hospital stays, on average, and the total health care expenses were reduced. Further research is needed to understand the association between mattress type and hospital duration. While the researchers recognized that the use of high-tech air pressure colors, the results were minor, the recommendation to nurses was that the vast majority of patients could be cared for comfortably with a specialized foam mattress.