Evid Based Nurs 10:22 doi:10.1136/ebn.10.1.22
  • Treatment

Similar proportions of patients developed pressure ulcers on alternating pressure overlays and alternating pressure mattresses

 Q What is the relative effectiveness of alternating pressure overlays and alternating pressure mattresses for preventing pressure ulcers in hospital patients with limited mobility?



randomised controlled trial.





GraphicFollow up period:

median 9 days (range 0–63).*


10 hospitals in the UK.


1972 patients ⩾55 years of age (mean age 75 y, 64% women) admitted to vascular, orthopaedic, medical, or elderly care wards in the previous 24 hours, with an expected hospital stay of ⩾7 days and limited activity and mobility (Braden scores of 1 or 2) or existing grade 2 pressure ulcer. Elective surgical patients were included if they were expected to have limited mobility for ⩾3 days postoperatively. Exclusion criteria included ⩾ grade 3 pressure ulcer, planned admission to intensive care ward after surgery, sleeping in a chair at night, and weight <45 kg or >140 kg.


alternating pressure overlay (n = 990) or alternating pressure mattress (n = 982) for duration of ward stay (⩽60 d) or until mobility improved to a Braden score of 3 or 4.


development of new pressure ulcers ⩾ grade 2, patient acceptability (proportion requesting a change in surface), and …

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