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Propping people up with pillows whilst on an air mattress - Carers UK Forum

Propping people up with pillows whilst on an air mattress

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Hello, this is my first post so I hope I do it correctly...

I am a care assistant who has worked previously in nursing homes and now works in a residential care home. I was taught that if a resident is on an air mattress then they should not be propped up on their side with the aid of pillows nor should pillows be placed under their heels to raise their heels off the bed as this will restrict the flow of air around the cells. I have been removing the pillows and using repositioning every couple of hours as previously taught. My manager has ordered me to leave the pillows in place. Could anyone tell me where I stand legally/best practice on this matter? I lead the team at night so the onus is on me if we are working incorrectly.
Thanks in advance.
Hi Christie
Welcome to carers UK but I think you have asked your question on the wrong platform as this is for unpaid family carers rather than professionals. It sounds to me as though you have been working in a well managed care home and my opinion for all it is worth is that you have been doing best practice with air flow matress as many district nurses have said similar about my own late father's air flow bed.
I think when working out in the field you need to remember not everyone is able to be turned every 2 hours and you have untrained family making their relative comfy etc. You can but try to educate but don't get frustrated if you keep walking in on plumped up pillows. Probably best to speak to OT in your area. I care for a lady now who has air flow mattress and pillows /cushions etc, she only has carepackage for 3 times a day but has been bed bound for 18 months and no sores.
Dad on the other hand had more sores , more care and was more stubborn so as with most things no sulution fits all.
O sorry but thanks for replying xx
I fully understand your dilemma.
I was an RGN for 30+ years & finished my work as a Community palliative care nurse
Which often was very different from my former & LIFELONG training = was to go in in 2-s to make a patient comfortable; however, in Community @ home Care of the Dying: this was not possible.
So; I'd say very often; we working solo at nite all alone ; would MAXIMISE comfort over ALL ELSE
= Alone ....all night
I'd REPOSITION pillows alone
I'd administer morphine pen as an RGN.
But : I would state; Even I'd you aren't a trained nurse
I'd find out from the local Districtcnyrsing team how to settle a petson at night and maximise comfort. We ALL can play a part; I'd say and NOT JUST NURSES!
Members of Family are ESPECIALLY valuable to the patient in a way no health professional or any one else can ever Bem
Main caree has an air mattress, but are so severely disabled they also have to have a (breathable) sleep system in place to maintain their positioning/posture in the bed (type of episodes/seizure they have can lead to total fixation of the body) this consists of a breathable top sheet, which goes over a series of special cushions under the arms/alongside the ribs and under the legs.

Looks very comfortable, and because of the materials used it has the "cool in summer, warm in winter" effect (bamboo I believe). Was obtained through occupational therapy specialist team, as regular pillows/cushions can not be used to due various risks (suffocation etc), the sleep system has done a few hospital stays with caree down the years they literally can't be in a bed without it.

On paper the DN team (and most people really) raise an eye brow when they hear of the set up, but its a case of once they actually come out and meet the individual, they realise its an unusual setup but it is working, hospital staff have been snotty about it but its usually because they are simply not equipped to deal with the combination of health problems (with learning disability/neurological problems) thrown together, and even then they usually get kicked into check (to back off) before too much damage is done

Has to be said though, all of caree's pressure wounds have been hospital acquired, we did not even need the air mattress at home until they developed a near fatal one following a hospital stay.

Speak to your occupational therapist team about a sleeping system for positioning and see what they say.
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