Medical Air Mattresses and Patients’ Needs

Medical air mattresses are specialized sleep surfaces that can encourage the healing of pressure injuries or can help to prevent injuries in highly susceptible residents.  There are a variety of features to choose from, and when the comfort and well-being of your patients is on the line, you need to make the best decisions every time. The two steps for choosing the best medical air mattress are selecting the correct therapy style and determining the proper safety features.

How can you use an air bed for patient therapy?

Medical air beds can be used to treat and prevent ulcers, pressure sores, excessive sweating, maceration, and pulmonary issues. Each medical mattress system has its own unique features to make it the optimal support surface for patient therapy and rehabilitation. 

What are the best patient air mattresses for bed sores?

Alternating Pressure air mattresses are recommended for patients who suffer from pressure ulcers and bed sores.

What are the different types of healthcare air mattresses?

The three most popular healthcare air mattress systems are alternating pressure, low air loss, and lateral rotation. Here is how each air bed can impact your patients:

Consider Your Patients

Alternating Pressure and Pressure Ulcers
Use Alternating Pressure air mattresses for patients who suffer from pressure ulcers and bed sores. Alternating pressure from one air cell to another within the mattress can help improve blood flow and aid the healing process. The inflation and deflation process alleviates pain at pressure points and can prevent skin breakdown as well.

Low Air Loss and Moisture Ailments
Patients who have moisture-related ailments like excessive sweating and maceration would do best on Low Air Loss air mattresses. These healthcare mattresses feature tiny holes in the air cells, allowing cool air to pass through, while controlling microclimate heat and moisture.

Lateral Rotation and Circulatory Issues
Circulatory and pulmonary issues are often addressed with Lateral Rotation air mattresses. They utilize inflation and deflation of air cells to gently rotate individuals 40 degrees to the right or left side. This function helps encourage proper breathing and blood circulation, and can help the lungs to reabsorb excess liquid in or on the lungs.


What Are the Best Air Bed Safety Features?

Beyond therapy, there are other valuable features to consider when selecting an air mattress.

Safety Base
A safety base prevents a resident from lying directly on the bed frame if the pump stops working. Safety bases can be made of either foam or air cells, both of which act independently, even if power is lost.
Cell-on-Cell Designs
Cell-on-cell air mattress designs feature independent air bladders sealed down the center so that air does not flow freely through the entire depth of the mattress. This allows the bottom cells to serve as the safety base in the case of power failure.  Note: this also reduces the amount of immersable cell height that a resident can actually sink into in order to effectively redistribute pressure.

Firm Perimeters
Firm perimeters help increase stability for transfers. They provide a gentle reminder to the residents of where the bed edge is, and can help reduce the risk of rollout falls or entrapment in or around bed rails.


Medical Air Mattress FAQs:

Should air mattresses be rented or owned?

When it comes to purchases for your community, you have to make the best choices for your residents and business. Depending on your unique community, find out if it is more beneficial for you to rent or own an air mattress with these pros and cons.

What are common air mattress repairs?

If you choose to purchase an air mattress, there are a few maintenance and repair responsibilities to be aware of. From pump to power cord replacement, these are the five most common air mattress maintenance repairs.


While there is no perfect formula to choosing the ideal medical air mattress, it is essential to keep your patients and their needs at the center of your decision making. Involvement by both your purchasing and clinical teams can also help to make sure that everyone is comfortable with the healthcare mattress selected.

Browse through our vast selection of air mattresses to get an idea of your options as you search for the perfect air mattress for your unique needs. And if you need more help, try our Mattress Selection Guide or contact us for help choosing the right mattress!