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This article is evidence-based, verified by Dr. Ahmed Zayed
When patients become bedridden for a long time, there’s no point in keeping them at the hospital. Instead, a better alternative is to bring the patient home and arrange for home-care services. The patient’s loved ones can arrange for essential medicines, instruments, and a hospital bed, as well.
Out of all home care services, it’s most important to take care of hospital bed mattresses. A disinfected and sterilized mattress can positively impact the patient’s health. But, if the mattress isn’t clean, it becomes a haven of bacteria that can further deteriorate the patient’s condition.
Bed mattresses in hospitals are usually disinfected weekly. They’re also disinfected immediately before the arrival of a new patient. When you’re looking after a bedridden patient at home, you can follow clean the bed mattress easily if you follow the steps we’ve mentioned below.
How to Clean a Hospital Bed Mattress at Home?
The first step of home care is to choose the right type of bed mattress. Healthcare providers usually recommend a foam mattress with different kinds of linens. You should consult the doctor to decide which antimicrobial fabric use – vinyl, urethane, or a combination of the two. We recommend one that is easy to maintain and clean.
Whatever type of bed linen and mattress you choose, try reaching the manufacturer to get information regarding the right cleaning procedure. Each material requires you to use a different set of disinfectants and sterilizers to get rid of microorganisms.
A hospital bed mattress that is easy to clean is typically made of breathable material. This type of material allows vapor and air to circulate but doesn’t let in water or other fluids.
The cleaning procedure of a hospital bed mattress is carried out in the following manner:
- Ensure Personal Hygiene
Whether you’re cleaning the bed yourself or you’ve hired a nurse, make sure that clean hands touch the bed. To ensure this, first, disinfect your hands using a sanitizer or soap. Then, dry your hands with a clean towel. Next, put on disposable gloves and an apron to make sure that you don’t transfer any bacteria to the bed while you’re cleaning it.
Decontamination refers to the cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilizing of the mattress to make it safe for the patient. The three parts of decontaminating include:
Cleaning: The procedure of removing microorganisms and the sources that allow them to thrive on the patient’s bed.
Disinfection: Reducing the number of microorganisms to reduce the risk they pose against the patient’s health. These microorganisms include fungal species, bacillus species, nonhemolytic streptococcus species, Staphylococcus aureus, and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.
Sterilization: This is the final process of ridding the mattress of bacterial spores.
The process of decontamination is carried out in the following steps:
- First, unzip the mattress linen, including the sheets, duvets, blanket, and pillowcase. Remove all of the linen to inspect it for bacteria and dust.
- To make sure the mattress hasn’t absorbed any of the patient’s secretion, use a paper towel. Place it inside the mattress around the area where the patient’s buttocks are placed. Pour some water on the mattress cover above and press firmly.
- Leave the paper towel for thirty seconds and then check it for any staining. If you find any stains, then replace the mattress as it isn’t suitable for use. Otherwise, let the mattress dry before you proceed with cleaning.
- After checking the mattress for any contamination, it’s time to sterilize. First, use a detergent mixed with water to get rid of dust particles and other contaminants. Rinse the mattress completely and let it rest for a while.
- To clean away stubborn spots, you can use a neutral soap mixed with water.
- The next step is to disinfect the mattress. Use a disinfectant that is recommended by the manufacturer. If your mattress is made up of vinyl, you can use phenolic disinfectants. If it’s made of urethane, disinfect it with quaternary ammonium compounds (aka quats). If your mattress’ material is a combination of both, experts recommend using hypochlorite and chlorine oxide.
- After the disinfection process is completed, rinse the mattress once again to remove bacteria.
- The linen material of the mattress is cleaned similarly. Some linens can be sent to the laundry. However, if you’re using thermoplastic linen, it’s better to clean it at home.
- Once the linen and mattress are disinfected and sterilized, you can replace the mattress on the bed frame.
- Use a mild fabric freshener to make the bed comfortable for the patient.
- If you can afford a UV light treatment for the mattress, get one done. In this procedure, the mattress is first stripped of its covers. Then it is vacuumed on both sides. Finally, the mattress is exposed to UV light, dry steamed, ozonated, and heated with infrared light to protect it against bacteria.
- Disposal of Used Materials
This step is pretty essential when it comes to ensuring the overall hygiene of the patient’s room. When you’re done cleaning, remove all the used towels, gloves, aprons, and other dirty objects. Any left-over cleaning fluids, soiled linens, and other cleaning materials should be kept away from the mattress.
How to Keep the Hospital Bed Mattress Clean?
While it’s important to clean the mattress properly, you should also know how to make sure it doesn’t get too dirty. Here are some useful tips on keeping a hospital bed mattress clean:
- Flip the mattress from time to time to avoid wear or tear on one side.
- Thoroughly clean the mattress at least once in a week to avoid permanent contamination.
- Do not use harsh chemicals on the mattress. They can irritate the patient and ruin the material quality.
- Avoid cross-contamination. It would help if you touched the patient’s bed as little as possible to prevent any bacteria from transferring.
- Minimize air pollution in the patient’s room.
Dr. Ahmed Zayed, MD holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. An avid contributor to the Huffington Post and Chicago Tribune, Dr. Zayed believes in providing accurate and accessible information to general readers. With years of writing and editing content in the medical niche, Dr. Zayed likes to think of himself as a man with a mission, keeping the internet free of false medical information.