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5 Reasons You Should NOT Rent a Medical Air Mattress

If someone under your care needs bedsore prevention and/or treatment, you may already know that a medical air mattress will help.

However, the endless options can be overwhelming. While finding the “right fit” will take a bit of research, there’s one category of medical air mattress you should cross off your list right away: rentals.

Rented air mattresses may be cost-effective in the short term, but they may also be detrimental to the patient’s health. With medical products, the old saying holds true: “You get what you pay for.”

Rentals are inexpensive, but a medical device is not a pair of bowling shoes. It’s an investment in someone’s well being and comfort. Here’s why you should seriously reconsider renting an air mattress, and instead think about purchasing from a reputable vendor.

1. Lower Quality

A rental mattress is like a rental car: generally a basic model, and one that’s been used over and over by other consumers with no interest in the product’s maintenance. Often times, rental mattresses don’t function properly because its basic wear-and-tear is accelerated by constant use and shipping from one patient to another.

Of course, the rental company is interested in the product’s maintenance, but unfortunately these companies don’t often employ real experts in the proper care and function of medical mattresses. Your mattress could be malfunctioning or damaged, and the rental company may not even realize it — or frankly, care that much.

For rental companies (even the most ethical ones), the priority is turnover. That means getting the mattresses in and out as soon as possible, rather than ensuring that each one is in peak condition.

2. Limited Choices

medical mattres rentals?

Rental companies profit by volume. They invest in the quantity of mattresses, rather than quality. This means that most rental companies purchase the cheapest generic mattresses with the most basic functions, instead of ensuring a wide range of options. This means that when you rent, you can’t tailor the mattress to your patient’s specific needs.

Ultimately, effective care means having and making choices. The patient may need certain optional features, like adjustable cycles or digital pumps, that generic mattresses don’t offer. They may require low air loss technology or panel locking features that don’t come standard.

When it comes to medical devices, one size doesn’t fit all.

3. Hygiene

This is an uncomfortable truth, to put it mildly.

There’s a reason most reputable medical mattress manufacturers don’t accept returns once the mattress has been used, even once. The risk of transmitting diseases via used mattresses is just not worth taking, especially as concerns deadly staph infections.

That’s not to say that it’s likely a rented mattress will transmit a disease to the patient. Most of the time, it won’t. But why risk it? Rented mattresses are exposed to blood, urine, and other body fluids from different people, over and over. While these mattresses aren’t impossible to sanitize, how thorough is the rental company’s process?

When it comes to a vulnerable person’s health — especially if they already suffer from open wounds like bedsores — these are not dice you want to roll.

4. Long Term Care

Rental mattresses are typically not designed for the long haul. Most are rented for short usage in hospice or emergency situations. That means that the construction and design of rental mattresses isn’t exactly above par.

Long term care products are different, and built to last.

Pumps, for example, are much more durable and designed to run for weeks and months on end, 24/7, without failing. They have built-in backup features in case of power failures, a wider variety of settings and features, and are made from sturdier materials — all to ensure that a patient can comfortably spend month after month in a supportive, healing environment.

In the end, paying more for the right mattress is a better return on investment. In most cases, the cost of a few months’ rental easily adds up to the cost of one good-quality mattress purchase.

5. Lack of Expertise

Typically, rental companies know *just enough* about medical air mattress design and function to fulfill the law and meet insurance regulations. What they often don’t know is how to give incapacitated patients the care they need to heal up and live in comfort.

Patients conditions vary greatly, from multiple sclerosis to fibromyalgia to ALS. They may require treatment for a wide range of symptoms, even beyond bedsores. And just as patient needs vary, a wide range of knowledge is required to help find the right fit.

Wherever you get your medical air mattress, you should get if from knowledgeable, trustworthy professionals who know what they’re talking about. A reputable medical device provider will work with you, and employ their own expertise to help you make the best decision for the person who needs it — and deserves it.

heal bedsores

Sheets on an Alternating Pressure Mattress?

Sheets with an Alternating Pressure or Low Air Mattress? (opinion)

medical mattress sheets

We get asked this question often and we wanted to address it first hand. Can you use sheets on an alternating pressure mattress? This is often debated by wound care nurses and after much research we are sorry to say that there is not a clear answer. We can however educate you on why they may have that opinion.  Our experience was some care takers got confused and may not have known the difference between a true low air loss blower and an alternating pressure mattress system.

The true low air loss blower is designed to wick away moisture from the skin. In this instance keeping the skin dry and using the special low sheer cover is critical in the treatment of decubitus ulcers. If a blower based low air mattress is being used to heal a bedsore,  the answer would be using a sheet is not necessary.  Why? This may add unnecessary layers to the mattress restricting the flow of air to the patient.  If however the mattress was being used for prevention and basic healing it may not be as important.

The alternating pressure mattress uses a compressor pump. This system depends less on the  low air loss therapy and more on the pressure relief of the mattress. The compressor pumps circulate air (low air output) under the cover to prevent heat buildup.  This would place less emphasis on the direct airflow from the mattress and more emphasis on the alternating pressure cycles. The alternating pressure cycles allow for blood flow to reach the skin healing and preventing pressure ulcers. We have seen more home heath and nursing homes using sheets in these situations with an under pad for patients that may be incontinent.

Our research tells us sheets are not necessary with a true low air loss or blower based pump system.  When using alternating pressure mattress systems it is up to the care taker or the policy of the care facility.

We have found a few companies that sells sheets and replacement covers for these types mattress systems .


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The Benefits of True Low Air Loss

Have you had this happen to you? You purchase an alternating pressure mattress and after a year or possibly two the center of the mattress becomes soft and sinks in the middle? This is not uncommon with an alternating pressure mattress system. Why does this happen??  Alternating pressure mattresses normally use a compressor based pump. This pump is designed to establish air pressure within the mattress then alternate the cells to reduce pressure and stimulate blood flow. The problem is if a seal is not properly established the first section to deflate is the center of the mattress.  This happens because the center of the mattress is where the “low air loss cells” circulate air flow.  In other words these cells have laser holes in the center. If pressure cannot be established , or if a leak is present it will cause this section to deflate first.

This can most commonly be prevented by using the static feature to enter or exit the bed.  or Make sure the CPR values are closed completely.

low air loss
low air loss hospital mattress

The easiest way to avoid this problem is to change to a true low air loss mattress. These mattresses use compressor pumps circulating air flow at a rate of 1000-1700 liters of air per minute through the mattress. These mattresses are less likely to bottom-out and offer more features in comfort and advanced healing.

Margaret Schmidt from Houston TX said “changing to a true low air loss mattress helped my husband tremendously. He sleeps better at night, and no longer has to deal with the blow out in the center of his bed.” “He loves the pulsation and alternating features on the Pro Max and we no longer worry about reoccurring bed sores.”

The true low air loss system Ms Schmidt selected was ideal for long term care. Her husband had a stage 3 bed sore that healed and she was using this system because he was spending more time in bed. The pro99 max true low air loss mattress had both pulsation and alternating features for her husband to choose from.  The Pulsating air suspension therapy uses small pockets of air, individually inflated and deflated to cause a pulsation. The Pulsation therapy will cause the blower system to reduce the air flow in the mattress system every 30 seconds to 50% of the comfort setting pressure. The internal control sensor continuously monitors interface pressure for optimal redistribution.

If you are experiencing problems with alternating pressure mattresses and need a reliable long term care solution like Ms Schmidt please consider the Max True Low Air loss system.



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Best Air Mattress for Bedsores – Pressure Ulcers

My mother has the beginning stages of a bedsore and we need a mattress that we can adjust for comfort but that will also keep her dry while healing. Can you recommend a solution?

Margaret M.


If a patient already has developed a bedsore and would like an adjustable mattress for comfort and pain relief I highly suggest the Pro 6000 Hospital air mattress.  It features an adjustable setting and is supreme in keeping the patient cool and dry. This is mainly due to the added low air loss feature which provides circulation of air preventing heat and moisture build up that can advance skin breakdown. The Pro 6000 Hospital air mattress has sensors that react to the clients movement so that pressure relief is constant and healing can begin. Your mother would benefit greatly being on this alternating pressure mattress.



Customer Service


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My mom will only sleep in her recliner chair

My mother refuses to sleep in a hospital bed and has slept in her lazy boy recliner chair for the past 10 years. She has difficulty breathing and will not sleep in her regular bed. I am not sure what to do. She has recently developed pressure sores and the doctor wants her to sleep on an alternating  air mattress and hospital bed.  Can you suggest anything that may help her heal bed sores even though she sleeps in her recliner chair? I could really use some help.

G Carter

alternating pressure recliner chair
alternating pressure recliner chair

Lebanon NH

We received this email from a daughter who was extremely frustrated and was not sure what to do. Her mother had begin to develop a stage 2 bed sore and the recommended treatment was an alternating pressure mattress for her hospital bed. The major problem was her mother refused to sleep in a hospital bed and did not want it brought into her room. Luckily we had a solution. We recently partnered with a medical manufacturing company that duplicated the same  pressure relief principals that were used in the alternating pressure hospital mattresses.  This recliner chair for bed sores works with their existing chair and offers alternating pressure therapy. The adjustable air mattress operates on a 10 minute cycle time. This alternates air pressure every 5 minutes  through the even and odd cells of the mattress. It is designed to stimulate blood flow preventing and treating painful pressure ulcers. The adjustable pump can increase or decrease the firmness or softness of the mattress providing a variable comfort setting for pain management. This alternating recliner overlay comes with a quiet pump and a removable low sheer cover that is fluid proof and easy to clean.  Designed for the treatment of Stages 1-4 pressure sores. Easy to operate and install.