The Best Mattress For Cancer Patients And Palliative Care, Reported By Industry Expert
Finding the best mattress for cancer patients or in-home recovery or hospice care takes some expertise. I’ll help you narrow down the options using over 25 years of mattress design and manufacturing experience.
For most of us, a mattress is a sanctuary, a place where we relax, rejuvenate, and get the restorative sleep we need to enjoy life. It’s just as important to consider how comforting our mattress needs to be in end of life situations, too.
Choosing the best mattress for cancer patients and in-home hospice care, unlike institutional settings, can be even more challenging when you consider the factors involved. That said, here are some general guidelines to consider when either an end of life mattress, or a mattress being used for long term care when treating cancer or another illness.
- Pressure Relief: Look for a mattress that offers excellent pressure relief to alleviate any discomfort or pain caused by extended periods of lying down. Options like memory foam or pressure-relieving overlays may be beneficial, but natural latex might be a good option for someone looking for all natural materials and something that is hypo-allergenic.
- Support: A mattress should provide adequate support to promote proper spinal alignment and relieve pressure points. Medium-firm mattresses are often recommended, but again, it’s essential to consider the individual’s specific needs. I always recommend a surface that’s easy to turn on, and easy to get in and out of, so avoid excessively soft mattresses.
- Temperature Regulation: Some mattresses incorporate cooling technologies to help regulate body temperature, which can be beneficial for individuals experiencing hot flashes or night sweats due to cancer treatments or medications. If the patient is cold a lot of the time, try focusing on pillow top options that can store heat rather than getting rid of it
- Motion Isolation: If the individual shares the bed with a partner or caregiver, a mattress with good motion isolation can minimize disruptions when getting in and out of bed.
- Edge Support: Easily the most overlooked consideration, although many great mattresses for this application are often specifically designed to have excellent edge components built in to make transfer much easier.
- Adjustable Beds: In some cases, an adjustable bed may be helpful for individuals with cancer or palliative care needs. Adjustable bases can assist with finding the most comfortable position for sleeping or resting. You can visit my adjustable bed page here to research this.
I’ve helped countless thousands of frustrated caregivers through the years struggling to provide comfortable, pain relieving mattress solutions not only for loved ones, but often for themselves.
The biggest problem people faced, which brought the highest level of frustration, was simply the overwhelming number of mattress choices that people had, and having to wade through the options which can create a lot of stress. We’re going to narrow your options to only a handful of mattresses we recommend. Not to worry. If you want to jump down to our list of the nine best mattresses, click here.
There are physical elements of a good mattress that can offer a comforting and soothing experience for anyone going through an end of life process, so we’ll start with several factors that should be considered when choosing the perfect bed. Let’s narrow them down.
A mattress should be supportive and comfortable, first and foremost. For cancer patients, or for people who are experiencing other terminal illnesses, and are likely dealing with general de-conditioning and pain, comfort and anxiety free rest is critical. In fact, the proper bed should actually provide soothing relaxation, and be an enjoyable experience. Pain relief should be the most important consideration when seeking out the best mattress for cancer patients or those either recovering or in a long term care situation.
Ideally, the mattress should be as firm as can be tolerated by the patient. A bed in a box mattress, the kind that are pre-compressed and rolled, are ideal for home hospice care, because they are easy to order online, are fairly easy to handle in the home, and are typically made with supportive, durable, and comfortable components.
I’m going to provide a selection of the best mattresses for cancer patients below that you can easily order online, designed to be used in a home, which can help relieve pressure and pain.
It’s important to understand that virtually all of these beds have a supportive and uplifting bottom layer, but it’s what’s on top that makes the mattress exceptional.
There are a few options that I highly recommend that can relieve pressure, reduce bedsores, but are yet supportive enough to make it easy to turn and transfer in and out of the mattress in effortless fashion.
Ideally, this means choosing a mattress that is firm on the bottom yet softer up top, and it can mean an all foam option, or a hybrid mattress that contains both softer foam elements as well as a pocket coil section in the middle of the mattress.
I recommend a few options for the top most layers in a mattress that will be very effective for in home care. These mattress choices are far less expensive that medical bedding and I believe actually perform more effectively.
I designed and sold natural latex mattresses for years, for example, and they worked extremely well for end of life cases. Patients found them delightful because there was excellent buoyant support, easy turning and transfer, and proper spine alignment.
Quite buoyant and deliciously comfortable, and you get a lot of “push back” with latex, that is, the rubbery and flexible nature of this material offers spring-like elements, pushing up on the body rather than creating a melting sensation. It’s also easy to sit on the edge of a latex mattress and is great for making transfer easier.
If you go with an all natural latex mattress, too, you get the hypo-allergenic benefits of latex as well, it’s odor free, and resists dust mites mold, and mildew.
Natural latex is a clean, chemical free material that does not contain harmful PBDE’s, heavy metals, and can last up to 50 years without losing its supportive and elastic qualities.
Dust mites and their egg casings can be a major problem for anyone with allergies and sensitivities, but natural latex actually repels them, making it an ideal candidate for anyone suffering from long term or acute illness.
A latex hybrid or all latex mattress is a little heavier to handle and may be slightly more expensive, but it’s easier to turn on, and is a better fit for those with restless leg syndrome. It’s not the best fit for hot sleepers, but many in end of life situations complain of being cold, and latex will provide some extra warmth that other materials will not provide.
memory foam is ideal for pressure and pain relief
Another excellent material to have on top as the body contact layer is memory foam, often combined with gel foam and referred to as “gel memory foam”. Memory foam is an outstanding comfort material because it melts up around the body, and in cases where there is a lot of back pain, it might be the single best option.
Memory foam tends to fill void areas extremely effectively, responding to body heat and filling in areas between hips and rib cage, especially for side sleepers, and it also fills in areas between shoulder blades, and is great for this who sleep in the fetal position, which often is the case in advanced end of life situations.
It’s often the best mattress for cancer patients because of its ability to relieve pinpoint pressure and assist with improving bedsores, and is very easy to turn on if you don’t opt for a very soft option.
Honestly, in an acute palliative care setting, where pressure relief and bed sores are an issue, I would probably go with a memory foam type bed, because the benefit of immersion into the material outweighs the need to transfer in and out of bed, and since memory foam is excellent at pressure point reduction, it can keep bed sores at bay, too, simply because of its ability to distribute load sideways, like spreading a pizza dough, rather than downward, creating pinpoint pressure points.
Which Mattresses Are Best For Transfer And Edge Support?
Ability to transfer in and out of a mattress is the single most important element to consider when purchasing a home hospice mattress, which is why I strongly suggest to err on the side of firm rather than too soft, since transfer requires tremendous energy and can be exhausting.
The ability to sit on the edge of your mattress to transfer either to upright position, or to a wheelchair, is mission critical.
Another strong consideration that I recommend is the use of an adjustable bed, along with the right mattress, which adds an additional level of comfort and relief to end of life situations.
For one, sitting upright is important, since a lot of bed bound folks are still able to function pretty well, and eating and drinking, socializing with friends, reading, TV watching, and other activities are a lot easier with an electrically controlled base.
For swollen feet, edema of the legs, and other conditions, raising the foot end of the bed is a wonderful experience and offers great benefit. Also, a foam mattress is easily bendable and is perfectly suited for use on and adjustable base.
All of the mattresses we suggest below are designed to be used on either a flat foundation, box spring or base, and can also be used on an adjustable bed. Many of the companies shown also sell adjustable bases on their sites, and are often offered as a package deal.
how an adjustable bed base can dramatically improve being confined to bed
The adjustable base of today doesn’t have that clinical or institutional look of old school bases either, and are designed to like flat when sleeping or when not in use during the day, and look like any other mattress or bed.
One thing that I’ll mention is that a commercially available adjustable bed will have advanced features that are desirable, such as safety rails that can be operated with a remote control or other device. But you can typically use whatever mattress you like with these bases. These adjustable bases, like most others, are usually twin long size, measuring 38×80 in width and length.
That said, I know a lot of couples who sleep together until the very end. In that situation, there certainly is no need to opt for a mattress that is a twin or twin long size. A full, or double, sized mattress offers more room for the user, and is great for couples who still enjoy sleeping or resting together. Even a queen size mattress, if you have the room, is something to consider, either with or without an adjustable base.
You can visit our Bed Sizes page, which takes the mystery out of choosing the right size mattress for your application.
Don’t think that an end of life situation forces an individual to be confined to a smaller size mattress. If you are at home, consider larger sizes if you wish to bed share with your loved one.
In our recommended list of mattresses shown below, you can choose from all standard industry sizes, from single sized beds (called twin or twin long) to full or queen options as well.
If you like, we also have some recommendations for adjustable bases on our Adjustable Base page.
If you are using an adjustable base in a palliative care setting, consider the height of the mattress you are purchasing as well, and test the height of the mattress in combination with the base or foundation to make sure it is a desirable height, making transfer in and out as easy as possible for the user.
Our List of the Best Mattresses for Terminal Illness, Longterm Recovery, And Palliative Care
For pain and pressure relief, side sleeper support, and edge support, this all foam mattress makes it easy to turn on for bed bound individuals.
It’s my overall #1 option for bedsore prevention and it’s a bit softer, too, which helps with shoulder and hip pain, providing a more floating feel.
I like the fact that Puffy uses top of the line luxury components and textiles, safer, low VOC and formaldehyde free Certi-Pur foam. Resists packing down and compression.
Excellent for chronic back pain too, but is softer than many foam mattresses. Google reviews: 4.9 Rating out of 5, from a total of 6,572 Online Reviews. The Puffy Original Mattress, priced at just $1049 in queen.
This hand tufted premium memory foam and pocket coil hybrid is available in two levels of firmness, a plusher and firmer model.
Both are made with a breathable, cooling gel/memory foam that has a very traditional feel, but contours your body and gives you a subtle hug sensation.
At $1899 in queen, it’s a tad pricier than many models in its class, genuine owners who review The Lytton Signature Mattress claim it’s effective for back pain, shoulder pressure, and improving sleep. Ideal for long term care, palliative or trauma recovery.
For years as a manufacturer for my own online mattress web sites, I had this company build mattresses for me, and the quality, customer service aspect, and the curb appeal of this gracious looking mattress are hard to not notice.
With thicker, beefier comfort layers and its plush, overstuffed top, I loved it’s creamy, panda’s belly feel. Get a 100 night trial and solid 15 year warranty.
This medium firm cooling memory foam and pocket coil hybrid provided fast onset pressure and pain relief within minutes.
For larger bodies, it keeps you from sinking and with a coil suspension, is excellent for back sleepers. Pocketed coils are not excessively stiff, making it more comfortable, with less sinking in.
I give this Saatva option top marks for buoyant, supportive, and lively feel with out a “dead” sensation I find on lots of memory foam options.
$1495 in queen, and you get free in home setup and old mattress removal too. Lifetime warranty, 365 day no questions asked trial.
Habitat Furnishings offers the best digital sleep number style airbed on the market. Half the price of sleep number beds. The bed is made with both natural latex and premium memory foam, and is similar to a medical style air bed with lots of adjustability for restlessness often found with cancer patients needing palliative care.
You control your own level of firmness or softness on either side- excellent for managing back pain and severe pressure that varies from day to day.
Built-in sumptuous pillow top. LED wireless remote controls with memory setting. You receive 90 Day Free Trial, solid warranty, and entirely made in the US. Easy to use hard wired digital remotes allow precise degree of softness or firmness on either side.
An excellent choice for bed bound patients that want a softer, plusher, and more body enveloping sensation, The Nolah Mattress is made with clean ingredients, including a specialized material called cooling AirFoam™. Ideal for bed bound side sleeperes.
For pain, targeted pressure relief melts pinpoint pain away. I test drove this mattress for two weeks and it dramatically improved my spine pain, caused by scoliosis and years of weight lifting.
It’s scientifically proven to provide 4x better pressure relief on hips, shoulders, and back. Also, the company donates proceeds various wildlife management organizations. A good way to give back and get the pain relief you deserve.
Hybrid mattress featuring EMF and 5G radiation shielding system. FDA backed technology using static and charge removal surface. Detox, remove free radicals, and get restorative and recharged rest. The true “bio-hack anti-aging mattress”.
The company even offers solid research that demonstrates how their technology can reduce pain and inflammation. Excellent choice for toxin removal and detoxifying from EMF radiation.
FDA proven to enhance recovery for injuries, increase general wellness, temporary increase in local blood flow and promotes a restful night of sleep.
Described as a soft, breathable sanctuary, the Dreamcloud delivers on back pain relief. Nice buildup with sumptuous cashmere quilted top, floating pocketed coils, and a quality 4lb. density layer of gel infused memory foam.
Owners report excellent support with no bottoming out. Great for neck and shoulder pain too. Minimal motion transfer and soft on shoulders and hips, it’s just $899 in queen. I LOVE this option for chronic lower back pain, and hip pain as well.
With my link, get $399 worth of free gifts included in your purchase, plus 365 night trial period, Lifetime Warranty. Just $999 in queen size.
This outstanding natural latex hybrid bed is loaded with clean, chemical free ingredients. You’ll nest upon a breathable organic quilted top, and beneath you, your body floats on 4” of botanical Dunlop latex.
Individually pocketed coils suspend and hover you, relieving lower back pain and pain between shoulders. Delivered with 365 day no questions asked trial and FOREVER warranty! Thickest layer of pure latex rubber on the market helps melt pain away.
An outstanding natural mattress that delivers supernatural comfort and levitating support. An organic outer quilted cover, a layer of eucalyptus infused rayon that cools, organic wool, 3” of pure botanical latex all floating above a pocketed coil system that evenly supports your body. Supports your spine with pinpoint precision. Compare at $1800 and up. Queen just $950. Proven “cake recipe” of latex and pocketed coil layer.
A wonderful hybrid mattress without all of the middleman costs. $598 for a king size bed. Individually wrapped pocketed coils, and a unique hybrid foam layer system above providing a bouncy yet pressure relieving sensation. Cooling technology built into the cover. We like the quality of the gel foam used in this Texas made brand. Solid 10 year warranty. Great for side sleepers and shoulder pain sufferers. A third of the price of identical “BigMattressInc” beds.
Looking for great support, especially at hips and shoulders? Our team loves this unique coil and foam hybrid. Gel memory foam on top, a pocketed coil system below with zoned support for torso and hips. A unique feature: a foam edge which provides perimeter support for sitting and increases usable space on the mattress. Queen size $999, 120 Night Trial. A+ marks.