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Hospital Mattress Failures Pose Significant Risk to Patients



Mattresses and beds that have been damaged in hospitals may put patients at risk for infection. More industrious and frequent cleaning should be finished to keep patients more secure.

Damaged mattresses are common in hospitals and might possibly place patients at expanded risk for disease. A study that was recently published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology came to these conclusions. The beds and mattresses in four hospitals in the midwestern United States were evaluated by the researchers. Examiners assessed 727 beds and mattresses, finding that 523 (72%) had damage, 340 (47%) required mattress cover replacement, and 183 (25%) required replacement of the whole mattress.

“The results of this study reaffirm what previous research has shown–that cleaning methods used at hospitals today are inadequate, potentially endangering patients,” Edmond A. Hooker, MD, DrPH, author of the study and a professor at Xavier University, said in a statement.

For the study, every one of the 727 beds and mattresses were inspected by opening the mattress, then the mattress core was outwardly assessed for proof for damage. The smaller punctate defects in the cover were then identified using an LED light. Finally, rust was visually examined on the bed frames.

The examiners gathered information on mattress model, bed model, and mattress date of production (assuming that tag was available). They likewise noted stains present on the mattress cover (external surface of the bottom cover, inside top of the cover, inside of bottom cover), damage to zipper or outside air connections. With and without LED lights, punctate defects were found in the cover, as were holes in the fire barrier, damage to the foam (compression, tearing, or crumbling), damage to the inside air connections, unacceptable gel compression (greater than 3.2 cm), and visible rust on the bed deck.

Most of the beds required a substitution of the whole mattress: 174( 95%) had large staining (more noteworthy than 15.2cm) noticeably present. Of the remaining mattresses, 6 mattresses had gel failure, and 3 mattresses had no reason recorded. A complete of 340 covers required replacement,176 (52%) of which had visible holes or staining of inside the cover. In 79 (11 percent) of the beds, the firebarrier was damaged. The researchers discovered widespread rust on 65 beds (9%) and beddeck rust on 175 beds (24%)

Hooker reports in the study that it “showed that most beds (72%) in a hospital system in the midwestern United States had damage. This research is the first to demonstrate that many of the failed mattresses wereless than 4 years old and that the prevalence of rust on the beddecks was substantial.”

Mattress manufacturers, the US Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all recommend replacing damaged mattresses and covers due to the risk of infection. Mattress manufacturers maintain that the expected lifespan of the mattress is only one to three years, despite the American Hospital Association’s recommendation of five years.

Hooker refered to certain limitations of the study starting with where the beds were found. The study involved hospitals, but they were all a part of the same healthcare system. Second, the majority of the beds and mattresses came from a single manufacturer. There were only 300 of the 727 mattresses, or 41%, with tags indicating their manufacturing dates. Substitution of the cover in 151 (50%) mattresses was vital because of harm; 123 of those mattresses, or 81 percent, were less than four years old. Complete substitution, including cover and core, from harm was vital in 58 (19%), of which 33 (57%) were under 4 years of age.

Since mattresses are the highest-touch element for a hospitalized patient, the risk of infection is possibly higher with a damaged mattress. This study’s findings suggest that all mattresses and bed frames, regardless of age, should be inspected on a regular basis to reduce the risk of infection for patients.

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