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Hospital bed mattresses, also known as medical or therapeutic mattresses, may provide comfort and prevent side effects when people remain immobile for long periods.

People who need a hospital bed mattress are at risk of developing pressure ulcers. An appropriate mattress distributes weight evenly, preventing and treating pressure ulcers.

In this article, we look at benefits and risks of hospital bed mattresses and provide a list of some of the best hospital bed mattresses and toppers available online.

A hospital bed mattress is a mattress used in a hospital bed or at home. Some people require this type of mattress at home if they are sick or if their mobility is reduced or impaired.

A traditional mattress may not be suitable for certain medical conditions. Additionally, it may aggravate or cause pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores.

Pressure ulcers occur due to a combination of factors. Prolonged external pressure on tissues causes a lack of blood flow to the affected area. Impaired drainage from the lymphatic system may contribute to the development of sores as well.

Compared with traditional mattresses, hospital bed mattresses prevent and relieve pain from pressure sores.

Hospital bed mattress manufacturers use different materials in their products. These materials are similar to those found in traditional mattresses and include:

  • foam
  • innerspring
  • air
  • gel

Hospital bed mattresses also need to be waterproof, antimicrobial, and easy to clean. These features ensure the mattress stands up to medical grade sanitation standards.

The head, leg, and overall bed height can be lowered or raised. Side rails on hospital beds also prevent falls and injuries. Mattresses for hospital beds can also bend with the adjustment of the head and legs.

For individuals who must remain in bed, a hospital bed with an appropriate mattress is safer and more comfortable than a traditional mattress. However, it may not suit more mobile people.

Benefits

One study demonstrated that a large-scale switch-out of hospital mattresses led to a reduction in hospital acquired pressure sores. This resulted in a 66.6% decrease in stage 3 and 4 pressure ulcers and a 50% reduction in mattress comfort complaints.

Some experts suggest using silk-based fabrics, since they are superior in pressure ulcer prevention. Cotton-based fabrics may cause increased friction forces and damage to the skin.

Risks

For people who are not at risk of developing bedsores, those who do not have reduced mobility, and those who do not need to remain lying down, a hospital bed mattress may not be suitable.

One of the risks of choosing a hospital bed mattress is that if a person must remain in bed at home, they may not be able to try a mattress before making a purchase.

Relying on mattress labels may be misleading. A mattress labeled firm may be too firm for some or not firm enough for another person’s needs.

Just like a traditional mattress, a good hospital bed mattress should provide appropriate support and comfort. It should continuously support the body at all points.

The only way to know whether a mattress is suitable for someone is to test it, where possible.

Below are some of the best hospital bed mattress options.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.

Drive Medical Therapeutic 5 Zone Support Mattress

This mattress distributes a person’s weight evenly across five zones. It is waterproof and flame retardant.

The convoluted top layer reduces pressure on bony parts of the body that may be more at risk of compression against the mattress.

The foam material is appropriate for stomach and back sleepers but not for side sleepers.

The Drive Medical Therapeutic 5 Zone Support Mattress is available for purchase here.

Invacare Solace Prevention Therapeutic Foam Mattress

This mattress helps provide relief for people who are at medium or high risk of developing pressure ulcers.

This foam mattress has several higher density areas to relieve pressure on body parts at risk of developing sores.

The manufacturers claim that this mattress is durable and easy to clean.

The Invacare Solace Prevention Therapeutic Foam Mattress is available for purchase here.

Marathon Advanced Care General Patient and ICU/CCU Hospital Bed Memory Foam Mattress

This mattress is multilayered. It has different zones with a higher or lower density to promote comfort and postural support.

The removable cover is latex-free, antibacterial, antifungal, and free of allergens.

The mattress contains CertiPUR-US certified foam and comes with a 12-month standard warranty.

The Marathon Advanced Care General Patient and ICU/CCU Hospital Bed Memory Foam Mattress is available for purchase here.

Medacure Pressure Redistribution Foam Hospital Bed Mattress

This mattress provides comfort by redistributing a person’s weight evenly across the surface.

The mattress is available in five sizes and includes a waterproof mattress cover.

The company claim that this mattress is appropriate for at-home use, care for older adults, and for people with overweight or obesity.

The Medacure Pressure Redistribution Foam Hospital Bed Mattress is available for purchase here.

Invacare Softform Premier Fluid-Resistant Homecare Bed Mattress

This fluid-resistant mattress features a unique contoured foam insert. The foam layer provides individual comfort and optimizes pressure reduction.

The foam layer contains individual cells that interrupt the tension, allowing the person to feel immersed in the foam.

This product has enhanced edge support to make it easier for people to get onto and off the mattress. Additionally, the mattress comes with a removable and washable cover.

The Invacare Softform Premier Fluid-Resistant Homecare Bed Mattress is available for purchase here.

Drive Medical Gravity 7 Long Term Care Pressure Redistribution Mattress

This mattress can support up to 300 pounds (lb) of weight and has a dedicated heel section.

The top foam layer consists of areas with different pressure redistribution to help prevent pressure ulcers.

The bottom layer has full-length horizontal cuts that extend the durability of the mattress.

The Drive Medical Gravity 7 Long Term Care Pressure Redistribution Mattress is available for purchase here.

For those who may not require a new medical mattress, an alternative may be adding a pad to the existing mattress.

Here are some of the top hospital bed mattress toppers.

Vive Health Alternative Pressure Pad

This product fits on top of hospital beds. People who have pressure sores or are at risk of developing those because of increased time spent in bed may benefit from this topper pad.

The manufacturers have equipped the pad with 130 individually sealed air bubbles to provide durable support that can withstand up to 300 lb of weight.

The variable pressure pump that controls the pressure within the air bubbles cycles through different levels of pressure to:

  • distribute the person’s weight evenly
  • increase blood circulation
  • reduce pressure on the body
  • prevent skin breakage
  • relieve pain from pressure sores

The Vive Health Alternative Pressure Pad is available for purchase here.

Drive Medical Premium Guard Gel Mattress Overlay

This mattress overlay can sustain up to 500 lb of weight and contains 15 gel bladders covering the entire area of the body that is in contact with the mattress.

The gel mattress overlay can also prevent and treat pressure ulcers.

The base is waterproof and stain-resistant.

The Drive Medical Premium Guard Gel Mattress Overlay is available for purchase here.

Doctors recommend hospital bed mattresses for people who must remain in bed for extended periods of time and those at risk of developing bedsores. Traditional mattresses may not provide enough support for people with reduced mobility.

Hospital bed mattresses include foam, gel, innerspring, and air mattresses that help redistribute a person’s weight across the surface to prevent and treat pressure ulcers.

Alternatively, people can place a specialized topper on their current mattress for pressure ulcer prevention and treatment.