Lateral Rotation mattress

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wmilo

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I'm a side sleeper using a "standard" foam mattress on a lower-end hospital bed, and regularly have low back pain. The mattress sags in the middle. [The bed has a wire/spring mattress support, and rather than put money into a new bed, I'm thinking about just putting plywood over the wire/spring part.]
I've recently seen "lateral rotation" mattresses which use changing air pressure to turn the patient from side to side at intervals. They appear to be pretty pricey. Anyone have experience with these? Are they a benefit by not requiring a person to turn the patient from time to time during the night? Would they work for side sleepers?
Thanks.
 

lgelb

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Spend the money on a new medical foam mattress/latex or similar overlay and you'll save oodles over the rotation mattress, which are not all that for most PALS, plus have a solution more likely to help your pain. You can add support later if/as needed for joints, bony areas, etc.

Relying on an algorithm's vision of when/how much you should be "turned" has a high margin of error in terms of comfort. These beds were designed for stable musculature anyway (spinal cord injuries), but even in that community, they are not mainstream.

A better bet is to be well-supported when you fall asleep, and if/while you turn yourself. When you can't turn any more, a stable comfortable position is still the best bet.
 

nona

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100% what she said. This is what I wrote in another thread a few days ago :

"I have the bottom of the line, Medicare-funded bed with the standard foam mattress and a natural latex overlay. I sleep on my side with my upper body raised and I am blissfully comfortable once positioned (body pillow plus one between my knees, one behind my back, and a thin pillow under my head). The only pressure point has been my ear, so we cut a hole in my pillow. The bed raises and lowers with a crank that we've used maybe twice in two years. Aside from looks, IMO the biggest flaw in the cheap model is the lack of firm edges.

I tried both kinds of alternating air mattresses --the whole mattress and the overlay -- and I didn't like either oneone. Both were too rubbery and hot, and the movement and pump noise kept me awake. Also the full mattress cannot be used with a greater than 30 degree angle, so if you need the torso lift it might not work. And lastly, the "off" setting won't last all night, so if you had no pressure problems and just wanted to use it as a mattress, the model I tried wouldn't allow it."
 

wmilo

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Thank you, Laurie and Nona, for your helpful replies! :)
 

Ed340hp

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I put plywood over the center wires, leaving the perimeter springs. It is an improved platform but the central depression movement allowed by the springs still promotes matress center sag and the "trapped in the gutter" feeling. I reccommend removing all the wires and springs, and span plywood from edge to edge of the steel frame for a better no-sag base (a change on my list of improvements). The bed lift and raise operates fine with a gap of about an inch at the hinges between the plywood sections, and the gap is too small to notice when sleeping on the mattress
 

wmilo

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Thanks, Ed340hp.
My wife is concerned that removing the springs would be too difficult. I was going to span outside-edge to outside-edge on the frame, but just put the plywood on top of the springs, and secure with zip ties through the wood and around the frame in a few places. Appreciate the info about the gap.
 

lgg

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My PALS was a side sleeper too. When he could no longer use his arms and legs to turn on his side, I would use pillows and towels to keep him on his side. We now have a hospital bed with an air mattress. It also has a lateral turn function. To our great disappointment, all it does is give the CALS assistance to look at things on his back. The maximum amount of time the turn function is on is 10 SECONDS - not minutes or hours. Then it goes back to neutral. It never assisted in having him sleep on his side. Otherwise, he loves the air mattress. It does make noises, but we’re used to it. Good luck, Leslie
 

Nuts

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We used a low air loss, alternating air, lateral rotation mattress once my husband could no longer adjust himself in the bed, and it was fabulous. The thing is, its benefit is for preventing pressure sores without a caregiver having to move you every couple of hours. It was not useful for static positioning. Game changer in later stages, but noisy and annoying if you try to use it too early.
 
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