In this post, we share tips on how to properly choose a foam mattress for long-term care settings. Scroll down for the video version.

Mattresses typically get replaced by the dozens and not by the hundreds. Which means you’ll find a mixture of different makes and models in any given facility or home.

Plus, design principles and sizes change with the times. Basic configurations are no longer appropriate or desirable for proper home care, and it’s important to understand what you are trying to accomplish.

How to Choose a Foam Mattress for Long-Term Care

Does it matter if the bed is new but the mattress is old (and vice versa)?

It is strongly recommended that each bed will get its own mattress that’s matched with it for the life of that mattress. If the bed is in good working condition, and is electric low height, the mattress you select can remain in service for 8 to 10 years with that frame.

This also makes it much easier for rail compliance when you get them matched correctly and link the two.

Some beds may have optional extensions and width kits and may have missing mattress retention pieces. They may not be of the same model.

How can you determine the size of foam mattress needed?

The only sure way to get what will get what’s guaranteed to work is measuring the existing mattress that’s on the bed so you can get what is needed. This means using a tape measure, in inches, and measure the maximum reasonable area of the sleep surface and ensure you’re taking into consideration that the mattress keeping system is intact.

You can then compare your measurements to the information that is on the mattress tag, see if it correlates, and see if the quality of the fit is good.

It is ok to mix different mattress models and different bed manufacturers as long as it is a good fit.

There are endless options and choices for therapeutic home surfaces, and there will be a correct, if not close, option for your bed from most providers.

Additionally, it’s recommended that you record the serial number of the bed and contact the manufacturer if there is any doubt about the type or size of surface needed along with being able to procure any missing parts related to the bed.

With foam size, the only way to tell for sure is to measure. Every mattress should have some sort of firm perimeter.

This means a separate perimeter made of a high-density foam that is firm enough to prop up the B4000 test kit and not sink under the weight of that cone.

What should I look for when shopping for a foam mattress for long-term care?

Foam mattresses are unregulated items, so anyone can make them in any size or recipe.

The minimum specifications/features we would recommend are:

  • 2 or 4-wy stretch cover
  • Fire rated to at least California fire rating 1632
  • Robust warranty (8-10 for foam, 4-5 years for cover)
  • Weight limit 400-500 lb in standard size (a good indicator of quality as well) and matched to the bed maximum capacity

When is the right time to identify mattresses that need replacing?

With those tips in mind, the time to identify the candidates for mattress replacement would ideally be during your annual bed preventative maintenance or as required from your rail compliance entrapment audits.

Any bed that has been degraded, moderately or severe foam damage, or surface that has more than 1-inch deflection in the centre. Deflection can be measured by placing a yardstick across the surface of the mattress and measuring if there is one or more inches of a gap in the centre.

When is it time to procure a new foam mattress?

The time to procure a mattress would be if:

  • You cannot find any more surface kits
  • You cannot find cover replacements or inserts
  • The mattress is out of warranty

In these cases it is time to source a mattress.

Where can you source the right foam mattress for long-term care?

When it’s time to buy, mattresses may be a contracted item or something you can get independent quotes on.

We recommend seeking three independent quotes with independent lead times.

It is important during the era of supply issues to confirm your lead times in advance, and to order via email (not by phone) so there is a complete record of your order.

Also ask colleagues, admin or other advice on what has worked well in the past and ask questions so you’re getting the best surface for your residents. What you want to avoid is making a purchase based on price alone, for example saving 5%, then ending up with the wrong size or a bad warranty.

When in doubt, you can also call third-party service companies or your bed manufacturer for a service call to make these assessments for you.

If you’re looking to replace or procure foam mattresses for your facility, contact our customer service team to book a call today. Or email!

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