Every hospital mattress and alternating pressure mattress comes with a cover but many patients have questions about sheets and additional covers. We get asked this question often and we wanted to address it first hand. Can you use sheets on an alternating pressure mattress? This is often debated by wound care nurses and after much research we are sorry to say that there is not a clear answer. We can however educate you on why they may have that opinion. Our experience was some care takers got confused and may not have known the difference between a true low air loss blower and an alternating pressure mattress system.
The true low air loss blower is designed to wick away moisture from the skin. In this instance keeping the skin dry and using the special low sheer cover is critical in the treatment of decubitus ulcers. If a blower based low air mattress is being used to heal a bedsore, the answer would be using a sheet is not necessary. Why? This may add unnecessary layers to the mattress restricting the flow of air to the patient. If however the mattress was being used for prevention and basic healing it may not be as important. Ultra-Sorb pads are designed for use with low air loss mattress systems and can replace the draw sheet and address the issues of incontinence. These pads draw moisture away from the skin helping the patient to remain dry. The breathable fiber pads work directly with these low air loss systems.
Most alternating pressure mattress systems use a compressor pump. The compressor pumps circulate air (low air output) under the cover to prevent heat buildup. This would place less emphasis on the direct airflow from the mattress and more emphasis on the alternating pressure cycles. The alternating pressure cycles allow for blood flow to reach the skin healing and preventing pressure ulcers. We have seen more home health care and nursing homes using sheets with alternating air mattresses.
(When using alternating pressure mattress systems it is up to the care taker or the policy of the care facility for using sheets.)
We highly recommend the ultra sorb pads as a solution to replace a draw sheet and to address the issues with incontinence. Ultra-sorb pads are designed for use with low air loss, alternating pressure, or foam hospital mattresses.