Casco Manufacturing Solutions: Five Traits of a Mattress that Promotes Patient Healing

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The quality of a patient's mattress can enhance healing-- or hinder it. Shelly Byington, R.N., a wound care specialist and quality consultant for Casco Manufacturing Solutions in Cincinnati, provides the top five traits of a mattress that can improve healing and recovery from pressure wounds-- and help prevent them.

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Shelly Byington, R.N. and W.C.C., interacts with a patient whose pressure injury healed quickly after his mattress was changed to a higher-quality Casco mattress. (SpotOn Productions Photo)

Pressure injuries that form from a poor mattress, recliner chair or wheelchair cushion can become chronic or infected and be slow to heal, which can cause increased pain and unnecessarily long recoveries.

Patients face many medical challenges throughout their continuum of care, but starting with better mattress quality can provide comfort, stability and speed healing, says a wound care specialist and quality consultant for Casco Manufacturing Solutions in Cincinnati.

Shelly Byington, an R.N. who is wound care certified (W.C.C.) and a Casco quality consultant and healthcare expert, is a traveling nurse who calls on about 30 homebound patients each week throughout mid- to southeastern Ohio.

A 23-year expert in wound care and member of the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP), Byington began her career by caring for senior citizens at nursing homes. She drives an average of 200 to 300 miles per day visiting homebound patients with diabetes, obesity-related diseases and chronic cardiovascular or vascular diseases.

“Nurses everywhere should ask themselves whether their patients’ mattresses are helping or hindering healing,” said Byington. “Pressure injuries that form from a poor mattress, recliner chair or wheelchair cushion can become chronic or infected and be slow to heal, which can cause increased pain and unnecessarily long recoveries.”

Byington works with Casco to help the soft goods manufacturer innovate and continuously improve its line of C-Matt™ health care and institutional mattresses. Casco is a 59-year-old certified, woman-owned company that specializes in American-made cutting, sealing, and sewing OEM manufacturing – making top-quality products for industry leaders in institutional, healthcare, outdoor and custom manufacturing markets.

Over the past three years, Byington conducted five case studies on homebound patients in her care. She studied the length of time and rate of recovery for patients with multiple classifications and stages of wounds after changing to a Casco,C-Matt Prevention mattress, a comfortable, higher-quality mattress than many home mattresses. Two patient testimonials are posted on the Casco website.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that 2.5 million U.S. patients are afflicted with pressure wounds each year, with the cost to treat individual patients ranging from $20,900 to $151,700 per pressure injury. The agency estimates that 60,000 patients die as a direct result of a pressure injury per year.

Byington created a list of the five most important attributes to consider when selecting a mattress that will help heal—not harm— patients.

Pressure redistribution— The insides of mattresses, recliner and wheelchair cushions are extremely important, said Byington.

A great mattress provides multiple layers with different zones of padding. There should be a support layer on the bottom, with a softer layer in the middle, and a top comfort piece. Mattresses that distribute a patient’s weight evenly across the surface of the mattress and include a sloped heel zone for pressure redistribution help eliminate pressure points, which, along with conjunctive therapies, can assist in the healing process, she added.

“This is so important,” said Byington. “More than half of long-term care patients have moderate to severe peripheral vascular disease, which puts them at risk for developing lower extremity ulcers.”

Fabric—Breathable mattress fabrics using select polyurethane and vinyl are most preferred, said Byington. Two-way stretch fabrics provide added comfort and durability. They also prevent “hammocking” and allow for easier patient transfers.

The best fabrics absorb body heat and perspiration and disperse it away from the body, said Byington. This keeps patients cool and dry and reduces the possibility of skin breakdown, which can lead to pressure ulcers.

Antimicrobial properties— All mattresses, no matter the quality, should offer easy cleaning and maintenance. Chronic wounds and pressure injuries are known to carry a “bio burden,” or bacteria, which put the patient at risk for infection. Mattress fabrics should be antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, as well as treated to inhibit bacterial growth.

Seams—Mattress seams should be sealed, not sewn, which decreases the likelihood of body fluids or secretions entering into the mattress core.

“Mattress manufacturers who use ultrasonic welding, which creates a watertight seal, and radio-frequency welding, which creates a strong bond and prevents contamination, are best,” said Byington. “Look for a waterfall zipper flap, which secures the insides and prevents body fluids or germs from entering the mattress, too. The very best quality mattresses are FDA-registered. Patient comfort, safety, infection control, and easy cleaning and maintenance are crucial to improving the comfort of these patients and speeding their recovery time.”

Patient comfort— Comfort is not a luxury. Comfort does much to prevent skin breakdown and ensure a faster, more complete recovery, said Byington.

Mattresses should be selected according to the needs of the patient, not the lowest price an insurance company often approves, she added. “Obese patients need mattresses that can accommodate from 350 to 500 pounds. Some higher-quality mattresses use interconnected air chambers that provide quiet, non-powered pressure redistribution that allows the mattress to automatically adjust to patient movement. These mattress systems are best for pressure injury prevention and treatment.”

Quiet, non-powered mattress technology allows for even-body weight distribution and reduces the risk of skin breakdown. Some mattresses have air chambers that are motorized, but if the motor breaks down or the settings are wrong, pressure injuries can form quickly, she added.

“Casco has always been an innovator in soft goods manufacturing,” said Melissa Mangold, Casco CEO and owner. “In fact, we hold the patent on the waterfall zipper innovation. Shelly’s clinical observations regarding patient comfort and healing outcomes have resulted in recommendations that help us continually improve the high quality of our mattress, stretcher pad and wheelchair pad line.”

For more information about Casco Manufacturing Solutions, visit its website at http://www.cascomfg.com or call (513) 681-0003.

Contact: Melissa Mangold
Phone: (513) 681-0003

About Casco Manufacturing Solutions:

Casco Manufacturing Solutions is a 59-year-old certified, woman-owned company in Cincinnati specializing in cutting, sealing, and sewing original equipment manufactured products. Casco makes top-quality products for industry leaders in institutional, healthcare, outdoor and custom manufacturing markets. All Casco manufactured products are made in America. For more information about Casco products, visit http://www.cascomfg.com or call (513) 681-0003.

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Melissa Mangold

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