The Problem

Over the last decade it has become increasingly difficult to discern the differences in all the powered air surfaces that have entered the marketplace. Ten years ago there were but a handful of powered air support surface manufacturers in the industry. Today there are well over forty. A decade ago there were basically three powered air therapies available; alternating pressure, low air loss, and air fluidized therapy. Today, there are closer to ten powered air therapies available. The industry has grown exponentially over the decade and so have the choices.

The Solution

To help eliminate some of the confusion that we have noticed within the health care industry concerning powered air therapy support surfaces, Continental Health Equipment has adopted a color coding system to help customers identify the type of wound healing therapy being provided by a specific piece of equipment. Below you will see a table that consists of a listing of therapy types and their associated color marking. All equipment in our rental inventory as well as those pieces of equipment sold in the future will be marked with one of the following color tags when appropriate. Furthermore, all of Continental Health Equipment’s internally produced marketing and training materials will also adhere to this color-coding system.
Examples of Continental Health Equipment documentation presently using the system:

  • The Continental Health Equipment Printed Product Catalog
  • The Continental Health Equipment In-service Presentations
  • The Continental Health Equipment Support Surface Advisor
  • The Product Catalog

Air Fluidized

Continental Health Equipment does not currently carry any Air Fluidized Systems. Common system names include “Bead Bed” or “Clinitron”.

Rotational & LAL

Rotational and Low Air Loss Combination systems provide both rotational therapy as well as low air loss therapy simultaneously.

Alt Pressure & LAL

Low Air Loss and Alternating Pressure Combination systems provide both alternating pressure therapy as well as low air loss therapy simultaneously.


Rotational systems provide lateral rotation therapy to the resident.

Low Air Loss

Low Air Loss Combination systems provide low air loss therapy.

Alternating Pressure

Alternating Pressure systems provide alternating pressure therapy to the resident. Continental Health Equipment carries both full replacement mattress systems and seating surfaces that use alternating pressure therapy.

Preventative Mattress

The resident is a candidate for wound prevention. Consider using the appropriate combination of seating and sleeping surfaces that will limit the risk of pressure ulcer development. The seating and sleeping surfaces that will help prevent pressure ulcers maybe any combination of gel, foam, or air system.


It does not seem as though the resident is at risk for the development of pressure ulcers. Continue to monitor the resident in accordance with your facilities standard procedures and protocols.


This tool is intended to be used as a guide prior to consultation with the patient’s physician and wound care team regarding a patient’s condition. This tool in no way supersedes the physician directives, treatment guidelines, or established facility guidelines. Always consult a physician prior to selection of a support