Clinicians may recommend using a low-air-loss bed to manage pressure ulcers. Low-air-loss beds are support surfaces that consist of inflatable fabric pillows and a modified standard bed frame. Like a standard bed frame, the head and foot of the bed can be elevated. An electric fan maintains the inflation of the pillows.
Low-air-loss beds do not allow urine and feces to pass through them, however, they are practical because they are lighter and more portable than air-fluidized beds. Also, the low-air loss beds circulate cool air, which may be preferable for some patients, depending on other health considerations.
Low-air-loss beds produce some of the same benefits as air-fluidized beds. They provide a support surface for the patient that some clinicians believe is beneficial. Patients may try low-air-loss beds if they have pressure ulcers on several turning surfaces, or if they are in a situation in which they are unable to turn themselves or have a caregiver turn them frequently. Though benefits exist for both air-fluidized beds and low-air-loss beds, relief of pressure from turning remains the most important treatment factor in preventing and treating pressure ulcers.
Low-air-loss beds are available to rent. Insurance coverage varies from plan to plan; Medicare covers low-air-loss beds under specific guidelines.
Last updated: 19-May-04