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
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.
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.