Hospital air mattress. What bed linen should I use?

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Hiya, My Mum has a 'hospital; bed but a weight distributing mattress rather than air flow so I can use fitted cotton sheets. She wears continence pads which she gets on prescription but I also buy Tenna lady bed sheets which are rectangles which just go under her bottom when in bed and usually mop up any spills. They are disposable so just throw away.
Elaine
Thanks for the pet warning.
I think Dad may be getting one of those air flow mattreses. He has a hospital bed and an NHS pressure mattress which is purple with foam blocks inside so it is wipeable. The D/Ns have always said not to use mattress protectors of any sort but just a single sheet. I use fitted sheets and hope these will still be ok if mattress gets changed by D/Ns referral. Why not ask D/N or O/T for some advice?
They may recommend slide sheets if you have to do any re positioning or moving.
Hello all. A range of air mattresses can all be covered with normal fitted sheets. However, it is recommended that you use flat sheets because they do not affect pressure within the mattress air cells like fitted sheets do.


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Moderator
Lot's of conflicting advice is given out regarding air mattresses. District nurses, in general, seem to think that fitted sheets should not be used - which is frankly a nonsense. The pressure within the cells of the mattress will in no way be affected by a fitted sheet, nor will they be affected by flat sheets with the old fashioned "hospital corners". Most air mattresses (full sized, as opposed to the thinner ones laid upon a standard mattress), through the undulation of the airflow through different cells, tend to shed fitted sheets, anyway.

As for fabric conditioners etc., just use the same washing liquids developed for babies, especially those for sensitive skin.

Dettol is great as a disinfectant, and, in a very diluted form, is a great antiseptic - unlike many other products, it WILL kill 99% of known bacteria. Just bear in mind that it contains chloroxylenol, (a chlorine based chemical) and that it also contains caustic soda, both of which, in concentration, can cause serious burns.
It depends on the mattress. Many medical air mattresses can take 20-45 minutes to inflate initially. My mattress is not holding air. You can use the right size of standard sheets for your inflatable mattress as well as your regular bed.
I was told by the DNs, OTs and carers who help me I couldn't use fitted sheets on the air mattress we installed recently for my husband (it's on loan along with the profile/hospital-type bed from the local NHS in Surrey). The answer to 'Why?' was: 'It interferes with the inflation and deflation of the air cells.' This baffled me: how could four pieces of elastic, one at each corner, cause this much trouble when the weight and shifting of the body on top of it -- for which it is designed -- would cause far more interference to the even distribution of air in the channels.
I think what everyone's on about is avoiding a too-tight fit both width-ways and length-ways, which with the redistribution of the air in the channels caused by the human body on it might perhaps (but unlikely in my view) mean the channels don't inflate/deflate as far as intended.

Considering how everyone advising me seemed to think it was terribly important not to use fitted sheets, I scoured the User Manual that came with our mattress for advice and reasons and couldn't even find the word 'sheets'!

A search via Google brought this more sensible advice up from one of the manufacturers:
Q. Can I use fitted sheets on ACTIVE (alternating pressure) therapeutic mattresses?
A. Use a fitted bed sheet with minimal effect on mattress performance
We understand that you may wish to use fitted sheets and so we offer the following advice:
1 Ensure the sheet is the correct size to fit a deep-cell, air-filled mattress so that stretching or ‘hammocking’ does not compromise the benefit of pressure-redistribution associated with cell deflation.
2 Use a 4-way stretch sheet for minimal interference of cell deflation in active/alternating therapy surfaces. This is also important when using Reactive/constant low pressure surfaces which reduce pressure through a process of body immersion and envelopment. The effect is likely to be less marked in reactive systems, but further work is required.
3 Ensure the sheet does not impede observation and access to mattress controls such as Wound Valves.
4 Ensure the sheet does not interfere with access, visibility or operation of CPR controls.
5 If using a fitted sheet for the first time, with a patient previously nursed on a loose non-fitted sheet, do not assume that repositioning and skin assessment intervals will remain the same.

Our air mattress's length is 6'3", our fitted sheets are 6'6" long. I removed the elastic from the corners, and all works just fine.
Dad has an air flow pressure mattress and District Nurse will not allow any kind of continence sheet or mattress protector below the sheet. All Dad is allowed is a single sheet- fitted bottom sheet is by far the easiest to manage, something like cotton that can go in a tumble drier if you have one. If soemone is bed bound 24/7 they may need special slide sheets that are nylon and provided by OT or D/N referral.
Dad has even been banned from having tena or inko sheets on top of the fitted sheet which is an undescribably nuisance for someone when they are incontinent. Apparently the risk of pressure sores is higher priority than sitting in wet sheets :shock:
Surely one causes the other but that is what nurses are telling me.
Seoc an Aonaidh wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2016 3:31 am
Lot's of conflicting advice is given out regarding air mattresses. District nurses, in general, seem to think that fitted sheets should not be used - which is frankly a nonsense. The pressure within the cells of the mattress will in no way be affected by a fitted sheet, nor will they be affected by flat sheets with the old fashioned "hospital corners". Most air mattresses (full sized, as opposed to the thinner ones laid upon a standard mattress), through the undulation of the airflow through different cells, tend to shed fitted sheets, anyway.

As for fabric conditioners etc., just use the same washing liquids developed for babies, especially those for sensitive skin.

Dettol is great as a disinfectant, and, in a very diluted form, is a great antiseptic - unlike many other products, it WILL kill 99% of known bacteria. Just bear in mind that it contains chloroxylenol, (a chlorine based chemical) and that it also contains caustic soda, both of which, in concentration, can cause serious burns.

Regarding Fitted sheets, you are in fact wrong and the District Nurses are in fact correct, I work for a community equipment store as a driver/installer and I'm the senior engineer for the beds, we use Sidhil Plus 2 ones and Arjo Huntleigh Nimbus 3 on Sidhil Solite UK4 Beds, the fitted sheets actually restrict the aiflow on the mattress preventing it from doing it's job properly for the patient causing more harm to them i.e. pressure sores, plus they are too thick as well so the patient cannot feel the benefit as basically the air flow mattresses need to be unrestricted so you can use a flat sheet (thin cotton sheet) but don't tuck it in though, Are you a trained Nurse? or Engineer? if not. DO NOT give out wrong advice please. District Nurses are far far more qualified than you and also I am as well as I deliver and install community beds for a living so know far more how they operate. Please please Do not use fitted sheets on airflow mattresses you are doing more harm than good.
if you need more assistance/advice I'm more than happy to lend it. Cheers
Hi Rob, welcome to the forum. It can be so difficult determining what the "right" information is. My mum's air mattress, ordered bt the hospital, arrived finally about 2 weeks after discharge, just dumped in the hall. I rang the equipment store, who said it should be installed by the person who ordered it, only their paperwork didn't say who that was. I then went to the sugery,finally , several days later, the District Nurse csme to fit it. Only the wrong size had been ordered! No advice given about sheets at all!
Yes, we used fitted sheets and they did not seem to restrict the airflow. They were fairly loose, as the mattress was 110 cm wide. It was a case of weighing one problem against another. The same went for putting pads on top. Advice conflicted. The district nurses did order the mattress but they gave no information on it and when the pump failed, I was the one who had to find out that it really was registered with the council and which firm had manufactured it and how to get a guarantee. A lot of good and sensible advice from one source conflicts with that from another, or doesn't work in practice.