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A new randomised control trial (RCT) carried out in 26 nursing homes in Flanders, Belgium, has revealed that static air mattresses were “significantly” more effective than alternating air pressure mattresses in preventing pressure ulcers amongst the nursing home residents.

Published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, the trial sought to compare the cost and effectiveness of static air mattresses against alternating air pressure mattresses in nursing home residents at high-risk of developing pressure ulcers.

308 residents took part in the study, with 154 being allocated a static air mattress (intervention group) and 154 being allocated an alternating air pressure mattress (control group).

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Within both groups, the randomised control trial considered the incidence of participants developing a new category II–IV pressure ulcer within a two-week observation period, the time it took residents to develop a new pressure ulcer, and purchase costs of the support surfaces.

The results revealed that the intervention group had a significantly lower incidence of a category II–IV pressure ulcers (5.2 percent) compared to the control group (11.7 percent).

Additionally, it took, on average, 10 and a half days for participants in the intervention group to develop a pressure ulcer, compared to 5.4 days for the control group.

Finally, when considering the average daily cost and lifespan of the two mattress types, static air mattresses costed less per day than alternating air pressure mattresses.

In conclusion, the randomised control trial showed that static air mattresses were significantly more effective in preventing pressure ulcers and costed less per day compared to alternating air pressure mattresses.

To read the full randomised control trial, click here

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