Air Circulation Mattress for Long Senior Hospitalizations Crucial
When I was hospitalized in November 2011 for my moderate stroke, I was flat on my back for several days before any physical rehabilitation exercises began. After my third day as a patient, Lisa requested my standard hospital mattress be changed to one that constantly circulated air beneath me to relieve any pressure buildup. She knew that pressure points can easily turn into pressure sores. In an elderly person, a pressure sore can be a nightmare that often signals the first of a series of domino events that can result in severe pain, in severely reduced mobility, and even death.
Medicare will not cover the additional cost of an air circulation mattress without a physician’s prescription. Most doctors usually wait until after a pressure sore has developed before ordering an air circulation mattress. Unless you or your healthcare advocate insists upon the better mattress for seniors spending ample time in bed prior to a pressure point or skin ulcer presenting itself, you are asking for trouble. If you are told this prescription can only be written after your problem has developed, let your physician know that you know he/she has the ability to write a prescription in a way that will satisfy insurance requirements. Not only does this mean a senior patient is much less likely to develop an unwanted skin rupture, but by taking proactive steps to avoid developing this kind of complication, you will cost the healthcare system much less to treat in the long run.
Don’t be surprised to find lack of cooperation when requesting an upgraded mattress. They cost more for hospitals, as they are usually rented — not owned — from medical supply companies. That means greater expense to hospitals, now usually for-profit organizations owned by corporate chains. Investors in hospitals are no different than investors in any other financial opportunity. They seek profits — not costs. Despite this reality, don’t hesitate to fight for your health, safety, and possibly your life. Demand an air circulation mattress if you are a senior and will be hospitalized longer than a few days. If you are not capable of this effort, be certain your healthcare advocate (or power of attorney for healthcare) is aware of the importance of this issue.
An air circulation mattress works by improving the circulation throughout your skin. It provides a constant, gentle flow of air that won’t allow your body to build up pressure in any concentrated area. Upon hospital discharge, you can purchase an mattress overlay pad at any medical supply store. The overlay will provide extra support for your shoulders, buttocks, and thighs. In turn, you will experience improved your circulation in your bed at home, lessening the likelihood of developing any pressure points.
The next time your children or grandchildren ask you what you can use and benefit from when your next birthday or holiday rolls around, tell them a mattress overlay pad would be just fine. Besides, how many more sweaters do you really need?