Are Memory Foam Mattresses Suitable for Bed-Ridden Patients?

Memory foam mattresses & mattress topper pads have become very popular in hospitals, rehab facilities, and homes.

That’s because they can make life much more comfortable for bedridden patients – because they help to alleviate pressure sores, support better sleep and prevent allergens and dust mites from causing discomfort. Memory foam pillows and wedges can also support skeletal healing and prevent sleep apnea.

But why are memory foam products so preferred by leading hospitals? And where can homeowners buy high-quality memory foam mattresses like Sealy, Tempurpedic and Loom and Leaf online?


Memory foam technology was originally developed for NASA’s aircraft seats, where astronauts were sitting for many hours during space flights. In recent years, the technology has been found to be hugely beneficial as a mattress material and it is now used in hospitals and homes, particularly for patients who are bedridden.

Memory foam is made from extremely high-density polyurethane or gel mattress foam. Chemical treatment of this material makes it supple and pliable. It is temperature and pressure sensitive and molds to fit the shape of the occupant’s body, helping them to maintain better spinal alignment and posture.


Whether a patient is healing from a bone or spinal injury or is in the advanced stages of a terminal illness, memory foam mattresses have been found to have a number of significant benefits.  These include:

1. Alleviating and Preventing Pressure Sores

Bed sores, or pressure sores, have been a common problem for bed confined patients in traditional hospital beds. Lying 24 hours a day on the unforgiving surface of a traditional mattress causes pressure on certain areas of the body and sores can form.

This not only causes further discomfort at an already painful time but can also lead to serious complications from an infection. Because memory foam adjusts to the patient’s weight and shape, reducing pressure on any one area of the body, the risk of developing bed sores is greatly reduced.

foam mattress spinal alignment

2. Added Comfort in a Distressing Time

Bedridden patients usually find their situation distressing, confusing and frightening and depression is a frequent side effect of their illnesses or injuries.

Pain and physical discomfort should be made as minimal as possible at this difficult time. Memory foam mattresses, mattress toppers, and pillows have been proven to be more comfortable for bedridden patients.

Because of the high-density foam molds to the shape of the occupant, the spine remains correctly aligned and pressure is evenly spaced which makes lying down for long periods of time less painful.

3. Better Sleep

Memory foam is proven to help with a better night’s sleep because the body is supported better and the sleeper is less likely to toss and turn in search of a comfortable position.  For patients who are healing and recovering, these hours of quality sleep will support the process significantly.

For those who are nearing the end of a terminal illness, better sleep will mean a more peaceful end to their lives.

4. Resistance to Allergens and Dust Mites

Because memory foam does not contain natural fibers and is extremely high density, it is resistant to allergens, bacteria and dust mites.

This is a significant advance in mattress technology because allergens can easily gather in beds which are constantly occupied by bedridden patients, and can cause unwanted complications for people who are already seriously ill.

Mattresses that have been used for a number of years can typically house up to 10 million dust mites. These harmful elements cannot live in memory foam so these risks are minimized.

5. Responsive to Body Temperature

Memory foam is sensitive to temperature as well as pressure. It softens in response to body heat and also retains heat to keep the patient warm and comfortable. Alternatively, some memory foam technology is designed to increase comfort by keeping the sleeper cooler.

6. Reducing Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is the temporary pausing of breath or shallow breathing during sleep. As it decreases oxygen supply to the brain, it can pose another serious risk to bedridden patients, particularly those who were already prone to the condition.

Because memory foam supports spinal alignment, it also keeps airways open. Sleep apnea is best prevented by combining a memory foam pillow with the mattress.

7. Position Support and Stabilization

Patients who are temporarily immobilized due to a broken bone or spinal cord injury often have to remain in one position to support healing. Because memory foam allows for even weight distribution and reduces pressure on joints, it is far easier and more comfortable for these patients to remain immobilized.

Additionally, memory foam wedges have been proven to comfortably and effectively stabilize broken bones and support patients to remain in a partial sitting or leg raised position.


1. Mattress Replacement

Replacing traditional innerspring mattresses with a memory foam top is the best option for maximizing comfort and minimizing the risk of bed sores or allergen complications for bedridden patients.

These mattresses are produced in hospital bed sizes and in all of the regular domestic bed sizes. To learn more about your options, there are several great product review websites that offer detailed reviews of mattresses sold online including SleepDelivered, Mattress Clarity and SleepLiketheDead.

2. Mattress Toppers

Many hospitals are investing in memory foam topper pads for their existing hospital beds and these are available to purchase for homes, too. This option makes the benefits of memory foam more readily available when financial constraints prevent full mattress replacement.

3. Pillows and Wedges

To support patients who have to remain in one position because of broken or fractured bones, memory foam wedges and stabilizers have been designed.

Similarly, memory foam pillows make long hours of lying down far more comfortable for the neck and shoulders and can help to prevent sleep apnea by maintaining spinal alignment and better airflow.

A Simple Way to Make Life More Comfortable for a Bed Confined Patient.

Memory foam technology has revolutionized comfort for bed confined patients in hospitals, rehab facilities, hospices, and homes. The benefits of memory foam are well researched and wide-ranging and patients find that they are more comfortable, better rested and less susceptible to pressure sores and harmful allergens.

Full memory foam mattresses, memory foam toppers and a variety of pillows, wedges, and stabilizers are available on both the domestic and medical markets.

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