Pressure Injury Survey Guide

Types of Pressure Injury Prevention Interventions



Pressure Redistribution Surface Use


Support surfaces are used to redistribute pressure on skin and subcutaneous tissue or alternate parts of the body exposed to pressure.


Support surfaces are used to redistribute pressure on skin and subcutaneous tissue or alternate parts of the body exposed to pressure.

  • Support surfaces are used to redistribute pressure on skin and subcutaneous tissue or alternate parts of the body exposed to pressure.
  • Support surfaces are made up of various components including air, gel, water and various types of foam. High specification foam is preferred.
  • These materials are used to make mattresses, overlays, specialty mattresses or chair cushions that redistribute pressure over tissues.
  • Support surfaces may have additional features such as alternating pressure, air fluidization, low air loss, multi-zones, turn assist or lateral rotation.1

Select a support surface that considers the patient’s level of immobility and inactivity; need for shear reduction; need for microclimate management; comfort; size and weight; risk for developing new pressure injuries and number, severity and location of existing pressure injuries.2, 3


Minimize the time lag between identification of pressure injury risk and placing the patient on the correct surface.


Continue to turn/reposition all patients at risk for pressure injuries regardless of the support surface in use.2


Routinely check the support system is working properly.2


  1. National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel. (2007). Terms and Definitions to Support Surfaces. Retrieved July 30,2016, from http://www.npuap.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/NPUAP_S3I_TD.pdf
  2. National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, & Pan Pacific Pressure Injury Alliance. (2014). Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Ulcers: Clinical Practice Guideline (Emily Haesler Ed.). Osborne Park, Western Australia: Cambridge Media.
  3. McNichol, L., Watts, C., Mackey, D., Beitz, J. M., & Gray, M. (2015). Identifying the right surface for the right patient at the right time: generation and content validation of an algorithm for support surface selection. J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs, 42(1), 19-37. doi: 10.1097/won.0000000000000103