Many answers to the commonly asked questions can be found below.

Topics covered in this section are FAQ’s about pressure ulcers, products, purchasing, delivery, servicing & maintenance and installation.

If however, you are still unable to find an answer to a question you have then we would be happy to help. You can call us on 01254 668899.



In some cases pressure ulcers, also known as pressure sores, can develop in as quickly as an hour depending on the external pressure being exerted. Read more >>
There are both intrinsic & extrinsic factors that heighten the risk of developing a pressure ulcer.

Intrinsic factors are related to age & mobility, nutrition and hydration, moisture, skin integrity & co-morbidity. Take a look at this visual guide >>

Extrinsic factors relate to friction and shear, pressure and skin microclimate. Take a look at this visual guide >>
This is not a simple process as there are several things to look out for, including skin discolouration as well as blistered, damaged, warm, spongy and hard areas of skin. Read more>>
Nearly all patients with a pressure ulcer, regardless of the severity, feel pain. The pain experienced can range from irritating up to unbearable. Read more >>
Educating and training individuals who are in the caring profession is important to help prevent pressure ulcers from developing. Undertaking a risk assessment, having a repositioning regime and utilising the correct support surface are also vital. Read more >>
An ‘Active’ mattress is also known as an air mattress, air-flow mattress, dynamic mattress or alternating mattress. This is a powered system that uses a control unit (also known as a pump). Cells inflate/deflate over a specified time to sequentially alter the parts of the body that bear load, thus reducing the duration of pressure at any given anatomical site.
A ‘Reactive’ mattress is also known as a static mattress. It works by utilising high quality foam to redistribute pressure in response to body shape and movement.
Pressure relieving mattresses work to reduce the amount of pressure being applied to the body whilst still delivering exceptional comfort. There are essentially 4 different types of pressure relieving mattresses that work in different ways:

1. Static Mattresses (Foam)

2. Alternating or Dynamic Mattresses (Air)

3. Crossover Mattresses (Combination of air and foam)

4. Low Air Loss Mattresses (Air)

Read more>>
At Select Medical we don’t just offer one brand of pressure relieving mattresses and cushions – we offer a range to suit different environments, budgets and uses. Within each brand you will find mattresses that ‘out of the box’ perform similarly. However, functionality, materials used in their manufacture, lifecycle & lifecycle costs will vary depending on budgetary spend.

Pure Air is our top of the range brand utilising the best materials and latest technology

Simpulse offers exceptional quality and reliability

OLA is our introductory brand, balancing efficacy and budget

SelMed offers complementary static mattresses & cushions
Overlay mattresses require a mattress or foam base below. Full replacement mattresses do not require any base. They can be placed directly onto the bed frame/bed base.
CME foam stands for Combustion Modified Ether – it is the most widely used type of foam in the manufacture of pressure area care mattresses. Due to it’s more advanced technology, CME foam is now replacing the older technology of CMHR foam.

Visco elastic memory foam has low resilience and therefore recovers slowly following removal of applied pressure. This type of foam offers superior comfort through a much more even distribution of pressure than conventional foam equivalents.
The risk level used against each mattress/cushion should be used as a guide only and should always be used in conjunction with clinical judgement. Individual risk assessments should be used when selecting the most appropriate surface. A regular repositioning regime should be implemented in all cases.

According to NPUAP1 – a high specification reactive (static) mattress should be used if you are vulnerable to pressure ulcers (as identified in a risk assessment). This is generally up to High Risk. According to NPUAP1  – Active (also known as dynamic, alternating, air or air-flow mattresses) should be used if you are at an elevated risk of pressure ulcers (as identified in a risk assessment). This is generally up to Very High Risk.
Our knowledgeable and friendly staff are here to help and ordering over the phone is quick and easy. If you’re unsure which mattress is right for you, they are happy to guide you through our range of products.

Over the Phone: Just call our Sales Team on 01254 668899.

Email: If you prefer, you can email our Sales Team on sales@selectmedical.co.uk

Request a call-back: If you’d prefer someone to call you, then fill out this quick form and someone will get back to you.
VAT relief is available on a limited range of goods and services if you meet the following 2 criteria:

1. You are disabled or chronically ill.

2. The goods must be for your personal or domestic use only You can also hire eligible goods VAT-free if you’re disabled.

Goods on this website that may be eligible for VAT relief include:

  • Medical appliances that are designed solely for the relief of a severe abnormality or severe injury

  • Invalid wheelchairs

  • Specialised adjustable beds, chair, rise and recline chairs and other lifting equipment

  • Goods that have been designed solely for disabled people

  • Parts and accessories that are designed solely for use in or with eligible goods

Further advice can be found on the HMRC website
VAT relief is available on a limited range of goods and services if you meet the following 2 criteria:

1. You are disabled or chronically ill.
2. The goods must be for your personal or domestic use only

What is meant by chronically sick or disabled? For VAT purposes, you’re chronically sick or disabled if you have a:

  • physical or mental impairment which has a long term and substantial adverse effect on your ability to carry out everyday activities

  • condition that the medical profession treats as a chronic sickness (that’s a long-term health condition)

For VAT purposes, the term ‘chronically sick or disabled’ does not include a person who’s only temporarily disabled or incapacitated, for example with a broken limb or someone who’s elderly but is not chronically sick or disabled.

What is meant by personal or domestic use?
This means that the goods are made available specifically for the use of an individual disabled person. The following are not ‘personal’ or ‘domestic’ uses and are not VAT-free:

  • goods used for business purposes

  • goods supplied to or for an in-patient or out-patient of a hospital or to or for a resident of a nursing or care home where the goods are for use in the care or treatment provided in the hospital or nursing or care home.

Further advice can be found on the HMRC website
If you have read this information and think you are eligible for VAT relief, talk to one of our Sales Team. We will provide you with a form so you can declare your eligibility. Call our team on 01254 668899.
Credit Card /Debit Card You can pay for goods using your credit /debit card over the phone. There is a 2.5% charge for companies using a credit card. Individuals paying by credit card are not charged. There is no charge to pay by debit card. BACS transfer If you want to pay by BACS we will send you a proforma invoice with BACS details. Once payment has been received your goods will be processed & delivered. By cheque You can pay for your order by posting a cheque for the sum to Select Medical Ltd, Unit 10 Philips Rd, Whitebirk Ind Est, Blackburn, BB1 5NA. Please note that your goods will not be despatched until the cheque is received and has cleared. On Account Business customers can apply to open an account which will allow them to purchase goods with a credit period before payment is due. To set up an account you need to fill out our account application form – please speak to one of our advisers on 01254 668899.

We ship all orders Monday to Friday and orders placed before 1pm can often be delivered the next working day. In some cases, orders may take longer to ship – in particular, specialised and bespoke systems. Please talk to our customer service team if you require additional details about a specific order – 01254 668899. Larger deliveries are scheduled for a mutually convenient time, to allow for our clients to make room for the equipment and its installation. For orders despatched by courier service, please ensure you select an address where it can be signed for between 08:30 – 18:00 hrs Mon to Fri. Any parcels accepted to be left at an address without a signature will be at the customers own risk.

All orders from our pressure care range over £150 qualify for free shipping to mainland UK. Delivery charges may apply for Profiling Beds and Moving & Handling Equipment. Please contact a member of our sales team to get a delivery quote for all items under £150.

Contact the Select Medical customer service team on 01254 668899 and we will trace it for you (available Mon-Fri 9:00am – 5:00pm or leave a message and one of the team will call you back).

Across our Active range of support surfaces, air pressure inside the air cells is carefully regulated over a gentle one-in-two (AB) alternation pattern, so that sufficient support is maintained at optimum levels.  It is important to note, support and therapy delivered by our Active surfaces is continuously provided irrespective of patient weight, movement or position.

Across our range (except Pure Air 8 Acute which has fully automatic pressure adjustment) the control units have a 3-tiered function to increase/decrease the pressure. Across OLA & Simpulse this is labelled Soft, Medium & Firm. Pure Air is not labelled but has a ‘curved widening bar’ to show the increasing pressure.

The settings can be adjusted anywhere between these ranges regardless of patient weight.  However, commonly associated comfort settings according to patient weight is illustrated in the weight range guidelines below:   Soft – 5 stone to 15+ stone Medium – 10 stone to 25+ stone Firm – 15 stone to 30 stone
Select Medical are predominantly a B2B supplier, dealing with Acute/Community, NHS & Care Homes, however we do have a network of suppliers around the country who may be able to help with installation. Please give us a call – call 01254 668899.
Yes, as part of our C3 Guarantee we will always help you with training following a purchase to ensure you/your staff fully understand how the system works. Talk to one of our Sales Team who will be able to arrange this for you – call 01254 668899
If you have purchased one of our Active systems and it is under warranty then we will send out one of our engineers free of charge, as soon as possible – talk to our Service Team on 01254 668899. If your mattress is no longer under warranty then we can still send out an engineer to you but there will be a call out charge - talk to our Service Team on 01254 668899.
Yes, we can send you out a replacement – just call our Team on 01254 668899 and they can arrange this for you.
Remove the filter cover from the rear casing and clean the air filter, found at the back of the control unit, once a month with mild detergent. We recommend replacing the filter every 12 months.
Strike-through occurs when the mattress/cushion cover becomes worn, is damaged or is split, allowing liquid ingress below the cover. Covers should be regularly checked for signs of ingress – staining to the underside of the cover. This is particularly important for infection prevention.

On Active systems - If strike-through is seen then the cover needs replacing. On Static mattresses/cushions - If strike-through is seen then the cover needs replacing and the foam surface may also be damaged.  If this is the case then a new mattress/cushion will be required.
Many of the parts for our mattresses/cushions, including parts for the Control Unit, are easily ordered and replaced. You can talk to our Service Team on 01254 668899.
Yes, if you need to replace the cover then call our Service Team on 01254 668899.
You can contact our service team on 01254 668899.
We offer servicing for our own pressure care equipment, but also most other manufacturers. Urgent call-out and planned preventative maintenance (PPM) to a range of healthcare equipment is available. Call our Service Team on 01254 668899.
Select Medical recommend annual Service checks to ensure all Active systems are functioning correctly and are safe to use. Contact our Service Team if you would like to arrange a Service check - 01254 668899.
Yes, we do LOLER testing – call our Service Team on 01254 668899.
LOLER requires that all equipment used for lifting is fit for purpose, appropriate for the task, suitably marked and, in many cases, subject to statutory periodic 'thorough examination'. LOLER regulations state that equipment should be thoroughly examined in the case of lifting equipment for lifting persons or an accessory for lifting, at least every 6 months.
During an audit we check:

  • The density of the foam on all statics (using the Mount Vernon Criteria, recognised by the NHS)

  • All covers for fluid ingress which is particularly important for infection control

  • Pressure levels in air/dynamic mattresses

  • All cells and air hoses for leaks

We supply you with a full report of our findings, along with recommendations.