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D316. Pressure Relieving and Reducing Air Beds

Policy Statement

This policy shows how {{org_field_name}} ensures the safe and effective use of beds and mattresses, which are commonly described as “air beds, mattresses and overlays”.

The policy is written in line with the requirements of Regulation 12: Safe Care and Treatment and Regulation 15: Premises and Equipment of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.

It also reflects the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Clinical Practice Guideline CG179: Pressure Ulcers: Prevention and Management (2014) and other national guidance.

The policy should be used with those on:

“Air” beds, mattresses and overlays can be used for different purposes:

It is recognised that there is a wide range of pressure relieving air beds, mattresses and overlays available, which are described in terms of, for example, “low and high tech”, “static and dynamic”, “manually operated or motor (electrically) driven”.

It is important therefore to ensure that each device used by {{org_field_name}} will be fit for purpose. Accordingly, regarding the use or proposed use of any type of air bed, mattress or overlay, {{org_field_name}} will adopt the following procedures.


  1. The use of any pressure relieving or reducing sleeping equipment will always be with the agreement of {{org_field_name}} user or as a “best interests” decision with their lawful representative. The choice of equipment will likewise be subject to discussion, which will include assessing the benefits and costs of the different types of bed, etc.
  2. The costs of sourcing, supply and maintenance might also need discussion with {{org_field_name}} user, particularly if the bed or mattress is being bought from choice as opposed to clinical need.
  3. However, for most users of a care service, it will be a clinical need that will determine the provision of any pressure relieving or reducing equipment, mainly because of the risks of, or presence of pressure wounds. If such needs arise, they will be addressed with reference to the appropriate professional advice from the doctors, nurses and/or occupational therapists involved in the assessment of need, which should include a risk assessment.
  4. Clinical need should also determine the type of bed or mattress to be used, with due consideration given to the costs involved, as the more high-tech devices can be expensive, and the local arrangements for procuring and supplying these items.
  5. {{org_field_name}} will ensure that it is given comprehensive instruction in the operation and maintenance of whatever air filling or flow system is used by any item of equipment, and it is made aware of any safety risks. It in turn will ensure that its staff are competent to operate the bed/mattress correctly and safely. Where needed, a local protocol will be drawn up based on the manufacturer’s operating instructions, to be included in the individual’s plan of care. Protocols will vary in line with the type of bed used and the operating instructions.
  6. {{org_field_name}} will also ensure that it is aware of any vulnerabilities with each type of bed/mattress used, for example, leaks of air, pumping problems, etc and has available the necessary support and service to deal with any faults or breakdowns quickly and efficiently.
  7. It will be familiar with and follow all manufacturer’s instructions for routine maintenance and servicing.
  8. {{org_field_name}} will follow professional advice of nurses, occupational therapists and specialists in the use of these types of beds and mattresses regarding bed clothing (sheets and underlays, etc), and any aspect that might affect their effective and safe use.
  9. {{org_field_name}} will ensure that the use of pressure relieving or reducing air beds or mattresses, including those that are electrically operated, will not result in the neglect of the user’s personal care needs, as required by their care plan, particularly regarding positioning and turning. The bed or mattress will not be used as a substitute for basic care, but as an aid to enable the user to be as comfortable, pain and stress-free as possible.
  10. The use of these beds and mattresses will be subject to routine checks and regular reviews to ensure their continuing fitness of purpose and suitability for the individual service user. The user’s experiences will be fully considered as part of this process.


Staff who are involved in the care of people who use pressure relieving and reducing air beds, mattresses or overlays will receive training to ensure that they are competent in their use and to understand how they contribute to service users’ wellbeing.

Responsible Person: {{org_field_registered_manager_first_name}} {{org_field_registered_manager_last_name}}

Reviewed on: {{last_update_date}}

Next review date: this policy is reviewed annually (every 12 months). When needed, this policy is also updated in response to changes in legislation, regulation, best practices, or organisational changes.

Copyright ©2024 {{org_field_name}}. All rights reserved

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