A vacuum mattress is a medical device used to immobilise, stabilise and/or evacuate patients. It is also often used as an alternative for a regular stretcher during patient transport. Vacuum mattresses are used for patients who suffer from trauma to the spine, cervical vertebrae or pelvis area. The device fits itself around the patient’s body. This prevents the patient from moving and keeps him/her stable.
How does a vacuum mattress work?
If you are only with a small group of colleagues (e.g. 3 persons), you can use the vacuum mattress as follows:
- The vacuum mattress is placed next to the patient
- A cotton sheet is laid on the vacuum mattress
- The patient is placed in a sideways position
- The mattress is placed against the patient’s back.
- The patient is turned onto his back including the vacuum mattress.
- The patient is placed in the middle of the vacuum mattress (you can use the cotton sheet for this).
- The mattress is formed to the body and the fixation straps can now be closed.
- The mattress is vacuumed (use a hand pump or, for example, Weidmann’s Accuvac Pro).
- You can now transfer the patient to the stretcher and make your way to the ambulance.
What are the advantages?
- You increase the comfort of the patient
- You can use the vacuum mattress for a large number of traumas.
- Because the patient’s body is fully stabilised, you reduce the risk of secondary injuries.
- The patient is more securely held and therefore safer.
- It is easier to manage in smaller spaces. The transport also tends to be easier when you only need to cover short distances (provided that sufficient personnel/carriers are available).
- The pressure is better distributed over the entire body of the patient, which reduces the risk of bedsores (decubitus) compared with a spine board.
What are the disadvantages?
They are more expensive than a traditional spine board. You need more time to prepare the patient for evacuation compared to a spine board.
Are there alternatives?
Yes, there are several alternative products to the vacuum mattress:
- A spine board
- An inflatable evacuation mattress (only to be used if there is no back or neck injury, otherwise it should be combined with a spine board)
Ordering a vacuum mattress
You can order a vacuum mattress at Tetcon. This medical device is full of innovations, giving you direct access to the latest techniques for vacuum mattresses: Vacuum Mattress Prime