Environmental Hygiene experts Mark Heller and Darrel Hicks recently collaborated to develop a Whitepaper on Mattress Integrity in the United States. This represents one of the first detailed reviews of the present challenges facing many healthcare facilities in safely and cost-effectively maintaining their mattress surface integrity. The following are excerpts from the Whitepaper;
Excerpt 1 - The Problem Statement
"US healthcare providers are putting patients at risk by not effectively managing the condition of mattresses. The impact of this mismanagement is not only a decrease in patient confidence, but an increase in healthcare-associated infections, avoidable patient morbidity and mortality, and associated costs"
Excerpt 2 - Why Deficient Mattresses are a Big Deal
"Mattresses are a potential reservoir of pathogenic organisms and can facilitate the transmission of infections (Creamer and Humphreys, 2008)... The FDA is aware of the mattress deficiency problem. Responding to over 458 reports associated with medical bed mattress covers failing to prevent blood and body fluids from leaking into mattresses (fluid ingress)"
Excerpt 3 - Current Approaches to Managing to Problem
"...mattress replacement funding is inconsistent and commonly a last-minute initiative at the end of the fiscal year. There are no national practices when it comes to the management of these assets, and proactive life-cycle management is rare"
Excerpt 4 - Condition Assessment
"Critical to building an effective strategy that addresses a healthcare facility's mattress deficiency is knowing the overall condition-deficit. Mattresses in all areas of the facility should be inspected before establishing a plan to address the problem"
Excerpt 5 - Solution Options
"There are three primary methods of mattress repair: taping, patching or reupholstering/replacing damaged surfaces...Mattress repair is a viable solution when the general asset condition is acceptable and the longer-term use of the mattress is probable"