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Air overlays

This section includes air-filled overlays that are placed on top of an existing mattress to offer pressure relief. They are thinner than mattresses. Some are designed to accommodate the size and weight of a heavier user.

Static pressure-relieving overlays remain static, with air channelled via pathways which help the air to circulate and to disperse heat and moisture. The air-filled cells increase the surface area over which the pressure is distributed.

Alternating or sequential pressure-relieving overlays are comprised of air cells which inflate and deflate alternately or sequentially. The sequence of inflation and deflation is controlled by a pump which is usually mains powered. The interval of inflation and deflation can be controlled on some models.

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Safe Place Bed

Safe Place Beds are portable, inflatable travel beds for children with additional needs.  Suitable for children between the ages of 3 and 13 s...

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Domus 1
Alternating pressure redistribution system — Improving pressure ulcer management with accessible and easy-to-use pressure relief pad.
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Bariatric Double Mattress Overlay
Air-filled mattress overlay designed for heavier users. Can be used on double beds.
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Repose Mattress Overlay and Cushion Set
Air mattress overlay. Comprises: urethane cells; vapour permeable, multi-stretch cover; pump; CPR deflation; mattress securing strap.
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Ro-Ho Dry Flotation Mattress
Dry flotation mattress designed to allow pressure distribution. Comprises: 720 air cells; four sections of the mattress overlay are independently adju...
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Repose Contur Riser Recliner Cushion
Rise recliner pressure relief overlay. Comprises: secures to the chair with adjustable straps; single air cell; pump; cover can be detached from inner...
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Solace Airo Air Alternating Overlay Pressure Care Mattress
Air alternating overlay pressure care mattress. Designed to be placed on top of a traditional foam mattress. Comprises: vapour permeable two-way str...
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Sofcare Bed Mattress Overlay With Hand Pump For Pressure Care
Bed mattress overlay with hand pump for pressure care. Comprises: three layers of interlocking cells; two inflation options; waterproof; can be wiped ...
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Roho Prodigy Pressure Relief Mattress Overlay
Static air floatation mattress overlay with Polyvinyl air cells.
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Quattro Overlay System
Mains powered alternating pressure relief mattress overlay. Comprises: 16 individually replaceable cells in four sections; one-in-four alternating cyc...
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Pulsair Choice Overlay
Pressure relief mattress overlay system designed for bariatric use. Comprises: designed to automatically adjust pressure within each of the cells thro...
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Precioso Alternating Pressure Mattress
Pressure relief system available either as a mattress replacement for an existing bed or as an air overlay which fits on top of an existing mattress. ...
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Opera Relieve Alternating Pressure Mattress System
Alternating pressure relief overlay mattress system. Comprises: adjustable user weight setting; power unit; pump; nylon waterproof and vapour-permeabl...
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Ola 4 Mattress Overlay
Alternating air mattress overlay. Comprises: polyurethane coated nylon, multi-stretch waterproof and vapour permeable; four inch depth; CPR pull cords...
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Harvest Supreme Overlay
Alternating air pressure mattress overlay. Comprises: CPR facility; transport mode; quick release cell connectors; manual pressure control and visual ...
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Harvest Kensington Mattress Overlay
Alternating overlay mattress. Comprises: pillow section; vapour permeable; two-way welded PU cover; 18 cells; made of TPU material designed to reduce ...
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Harvest Consort Overlay
Alternating air mattress overlay. Comprises: transverse air cells; CPR facility; pump with manual pressure control function, visual low pressure alarm...
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Ehob Mattress Overlay With Pump
Static air overlay. Comprises: temperature and moisture control via air passage holes that circulate air; handwells to assist with patient transfer; a...
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Auto Logic 110 Alternating Mattress Overlay System
Mattress overlay. Comprises: transverse cells, curved to prevent migration; alternating or static mode; automatic self-setting pressure; transport mod...
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Altaire 2 Pressure Relief Overlay Mattress System
Pressure relief overlay mattress system. Comprises: double Stretch waterproof PU cover; shear and friction prevention; visual and audible low pressure...
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Alpha Active 3 Overlay System
Mattress overlay system with two modes of action for pressure relief. Comprises: mode for periodically redistributing pressure by alternately inflatin...
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Alerta Pearl Dynamic Overlay Air Mattress System
Alternating air overlay for pressure relief. Comprises: nylon TPU coated air cells, sealed and micro-perforated; independently removable cells; pillow...
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Alerta Emerald Overlay Alternating Mattress System
Overlay mattress. Helps in the prevention and treatment of patients at medium to high risk of developing a pressure ulcer. Comprises: multi-stretch PU...
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Alerta Emerald Budget Overlay Mattress
Overlay mattress. Helps in the prevention and treatment of patients at a low to medium risk of developing a pressure ulcer. Comprises: multi-stretch P...
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Buying equipment

There are several factors to consider when purchasing equipment.

Get advice and an assessment

Experienced therapists or trusted assessors know a lot about products and will help you make sure the product is right for you now and will continue to be suitable in the future. 


You may be able to get an assessment and advice from social services. GOV.UK website
Alternatively you may choose to pay for a private occupational therapist. If you wish to request a private appointment with an occupational therapist then you can obtain details of local private occupational therapists from the 'College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section - Independent Practice' (COTSS-IP) website. www.cotss-ip.org.uk or phone their enquiry Line: 0845 129 7699.
You can check whether a therapist is state registered with the Health Care professions Council (HCPC) at www.hcpc-uk.org/audiences/

Try before you buy

You can find out about products and try them out, with independent advice at an Independent Living Centre (ILC). There are about 30 ILCs in the UK. Most do not sell products but they will be able to tell you where to buy them. We recommend you make an appointment before you visit

You could view equipment at an exhibition. They are a good opportunity to see what's available and meet the competing suppliers. The main exhibition of equipment is NAIDEX, held annually at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, and Glasgow. www.naidex.co.uk

Buying from a private person

Buying from a private person gives you fewer rights. You will only be able to claim against the seller if the product doesn't match its description or if the seller did not own it. Consequently, some firms occasionally pretend to be private sellers to avoid their legal responsibilities towards customers. If you suspect this has happened to you find out about your rights and what action to take on the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) website https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/ or call 0345 404 0506 to speak to the Citizen Advice consumer helpline.

Membership of trade associations

Some suppliers are members of a trade association. Many of these trade associations have a code of practice that governs their members' customer service, and thus may help to project you from unscrupulous selling practices. For example, some trade associations prohibit their members from contacting people uninvited to try and sell their products. They may also prohibit their members from using high pressure selling tactics such as offering a discount if you order that day, or phoning their manager while demonstrating the equipment to you to agree a 'special discount/deal'. Thus if you have a choice of suppliers for the product you wish to purchase we recommend you consider the suppliers who are members of trade association.

We record suppliers' membership of several trade associations (see a list of these trade associations) and our ratings give greater weighting to trade associations with codes of practice which are approved by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) (e.g. the British Healthcare Trade Association) or governed by an audit scheme which meets the requirements of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

We also record whether suppliers meet the ISO 9000 series of standards. These standards define a Quality System which certifies that formalised business processes are being applied, and thus may be another indicator to look for if you have a choice of suppliers.


You may be able to purchase equipment designed for use by disabled people without paying the VAT if you are 'chronically sick or disabled', and you are buying the item/s for your own personal or domestic use. For VAT purposes, a person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they:

  • Have a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out everyday activities.
  • Have a condition that the medical profession treats as a chronic sickness (e.g. diabetes).
  • Are terminally ill.


So, you won't qualify if you're only temporarily disabled or incapacitated (e.g. if you have a broken leg).

Examples of products which are likely to qualify for VAT relief (if intended for the personal or domestic use of a chronically sick or disabled person) include:


  • wheelchairs
  • stairlifts
  • computer software or hardware designed specifically for disabled individuals
  • kettle tippers, tap turners, button hooks and similar gadgets or devices that are designed solely to make everyday tasks easier for disabled individuals
  • artificial limbs
  • vehicles that have been adapted for use by a wheelchair or stretcher user


Price is important but, if we list more than one supplier, it is important to look for more than just the cheapest price. Check when the prices were last updated (this should be stated under each price). Consider whether:

  • Postage/delivery is included (if shopping by mail order or online)
  • Is the supplier a member of a trade association? (see below)
  • Is one supplier listing the price with VAT and another without VAT?
  • Check the suppliers' returns policies and any guarantees / warranties (see below).
  • For complex equipment that requires maintenance and/or servicing check what's included in the price and what the ongoing costs will be.


The length of the manufacturer's guarantee does not limit any claim you may make to the seller as if a product develops a fault outside the guarantee period you can still claim against the seller if you can show that the fault was unreasonable at that period in the products life.


You may be asked whether you would like to purchase an extended warranty. Remember that your statutory rights exist, under the Sale of Goods Act, whether or not you choose to buy their warranty and whether or not the goods came with any guarantee. Manufacturers' guarantees are separate from the automatic rights you have against the seller, and may be more limited. For more information read the Citizens Advice Bureau guide to guarantees and warranties.

Maintenance and insurance

For large complex items, such as a stairlift, check what kind of maintenance contract the supplier offers.

Making complaints and reporting unsafe products

In most instances a complaint should initially be made to the supplier who provided you with the item. CAB has a range of guidelines on their website on making a complaint about poor service or faulty goods. These include complaining by phone, complaining in writing and template letters. CAB advice about making a complaint.
If you are not satisfied with the supplier's response then you may choose to complain to:

  • an ombudsman scheme
  • a regulator
  • an independent mediator
  • a trade association (if the supplier is a member of one)


Safety incidents involving medical devices can be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on the GOV UK website www.mhra.gov.uk or their Adverse incident centre hotline 020 3080 7080. The MHRA is the government agency responsible for ensuring that medical devices and medicines work and are acceptably safe. Their definition of 'Medical devices' includes devices used for assisting patients and users, thus many daily living aids such as bath lifts, commodes and walking sticks are medical devices. Any incident involving the safety of a medical device (including safety issues with its instructions for use) should be reported to the MHRA, especially if the incident contributed to, or could have caused injury, life-threatening illness or death.

Need More Help?

If you know that there is a certain product that will help you, feel free to browse through our online catalogue or use our search tool for specific product names. National retailers are listed against each product and you can click on their link to go directly to their website to order that product or contact the retailer for more information. Don't forget to tell them you found their information on our site.

If you are unsure about what you need why not try our AskSARA tool to narrow down your search by considering what areas of daily living you need help with.

If you would prefer to speak to someone for advice about daily living equipment, please contact our Helpline on 0300 999 0004.

Our experienced advisors will help you find the solution to your problem and can send you information on products that might help you, where you can buy equipment and other useful organisations that might be able to help you.

You can also post a question on the Youreable forum. it’s free to join the forum and the community is supportive and knowledgeable. The forum is an online community of and for disabled and older people and their families/carers.

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