Pressure wounds are soft tissue injuries resulting from constant pressure which leads to lack of oxygen causing skin cells to die. These wounds are most often the result of sustained pressure, friction, or shear and can lead to many complications like sepsis, cellulitis, bone and joint infection amongst others.
Inflatable mattresses are designed to prevent pressure wounds. The mattresses are composed of multiple inflatable air tubes or cells which alternately inflate and deflate, mimicking the movement of a patient shifting in bed or being rotated by a caregiver, never leaving the patient in one position for any extended length of time. This action relieves pressure under the body - particularly in parts with less padding, like hips, shoulders, elbows, and heels - and helps ensure proper air circulation, helping to prevent and manage the occurrence of pressure wounds.
Inflatable mattresses are well suited to patients as those who are immobilized or lack adequate sensory perception (e.g. those with spinal cord injuries or neurological conditions), or patients with medical conditions affecting blood flow; essentially any patient that is unable to shift and reposition themselves while lying in bed. There are two types available. One being an all in one piece "bubble" mattress with cells, the second having a series of separate tubes. The "bubble" style mattress is more suited to low risk users. An advantage of the separate tube mattress is that if you experience a puncture you can simply replace the damaged tube.