Medical Q&As

Terminal illness - pressure sores?

Where can a terminally ill person get an adjustable pressure care bed to enable them to stay at home rather than go into a hospice?

Presumably you are concerned about the possibility of the terminally ill person developing pressure sores. It is not necessary to get a special bed for this purpose. A ripple mattress is a very effective alternative. As you are aware people who are immobile in bed are at risk of developing pressure sores. A ripple mattress consists of different sections that are repeatedly inflated and deflated in order to vary the points on the body where pressure is applied. This gets over the exhausting task of having to turn the person in bed at frequent intervals. The air-filled mattress comes with a small pump attached, which inflates and deflates the alternative segments every few minutes. The ripple mattress simply replace the standard mattress and is probably a more practical alternative for you than a special bed, which you may have great difficulty in getting into a standard house because such special beds can be bulky and heavy. I would suggest that you make contact with the public health nurse in your area who should be able to assist you in obtaining a ripple mattress. If you live near a hospice with a home care team attached they might also be of assistance to you in obtaining the special mattress. The Health Boards do supply such items on temporary loan to families. The home care team would also be an invaluable source of support and practical assistance and would be very prepared to assist your family even though it is your wish to keep your terminally ill relative at home. The home care team concept is one of the most positive developments in terminal care in recent years because it allows more people to die at home who otherwise might have died in hospital.