Prompted by myriad reports of failure that could potentially create circumstances where an infection might spread, the Food and Drug Administration is warning the medical community to take the proper precautions when dealing with medical bed mattress covers.
For two years leading up until January, 458 reports came in to the FDA describing a cover that did not adequately protect the mattress beneath from fluids and blood. The FDA is worried about what would happen if this condition is commonplace around the country. A patient might leak bodily fluids onto the mattress, at which point those fluids could make contact with the next patient who uses that bed, making that person susceptible to a potential infection.
Inadequacies in coverage could derive from a number of factors. For one thing, covers simply tend to experience wear over time, leading to holes and rips. Poor laundering, cleaning, and disinfection procedures could also compromise mattress covers, as could any issues with the zipper on the mattress.
The FDA is thus asking medical care providers to check every mattress cover for damage that could allow the transfer of fluids. At regular intervals, the cover should be removed so that its interior and the mattress itself can be examined, the latter for wet spots that indicate leakage. At the first sign that wear has accrued, the cover should be swapped out with a unit that doesn’t suffer from those issues.
The report also takes pains to ask care providers never to stick a needle through a mattress cover and into a mattress.