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Assistive Technology Guide - Combination Mattresses

AT Guide
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For information contact AT Aust on 1300 452 679

Last updated: Nov 19 2021

Short Description

Modern mattresses are made in a variety of ways and from a variety of materials. They can be made using a combination of springs, latex, foam, gel or water. Mattress choice generally depends on personal preferences, physical needs and budget. If the user is at risk of developing pressure injuries, it is advisable to consult an occupational therapist for appropriate mattress choice.

Additional Info

More Details

* Mattresses and overlays that contain a combination of pressure relieving materials are usually arranged to provide a degree of stability to the seating as well a lying base. The combination of different materials may have the advantage of being lighter than one material on its own.

* These mattresses and overlays must be positioned carefully i.e. right side up. Some are labelled to indicate correct position

* Does the mattress profile with an adjustable bed (if used)

* Choose a mattress with removable washable covers, - which are certified as non-allergenic (ie suitable for allergy sufferers)..

For further information please see Assistive Technology Australia's website or phone our Infoline 1300 452 679 to talk to a health professional. You can also visit our centre at Blacktown - see Supplier details for address. Please note that Assistive Technology Australia's purpose is to provide impartial information. We do not buy or sell assistive technology but provide supplier details.

Models And Options


Air and Liquid
* Air and liquid mattresses and overlays have a compartment for air surrounded by small water filled cells
* When inflated, the support comes from the air compartments
* The water provides a cool surface to sit on

Gel and Foam
* These have a foam base with a gel or viscoelastic polymer pad on top
* The foam allows for a greater degree of stability than gel alone
* Also they tend to be lighter than gel alone

Water and Foam
* Water and foam mattress overlays may consist of water filled cushions that fit into a tray which has a foam filled surround covered with plastic
* The mattress can be placed on top of any standard bed which has a firm base
* They can be cold to sit / lie on
* Consider that the foam will still deteriorate so that these products have quite a short life span

Air and Foam
* Alternating air with a foam surface and underlay
* Air floatation sections within a foam surround



Some assistive technology needs to meet Australian or other standards. Standards may relate to materials, manufacturing and installation. Products that meet Australian or international standards will have written certification. To find out if a product meets Australian Standards ask the supplier to show you the certificate. For more information about standards also see

Many of the items on the Assistive Technology Australia website are categorised as a Medical Device. Medical devices that are approved for use in Australia have been entered into a national database called the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), which is maintained by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). You can ask the supplier for the ARTG number for the device you wish to purchase and search the ARTG for the entry. To access information on the ARTG visit

When buying a medical device it is advisable to only choose a medical device that is recommended by a healthcare professional and has been included on the ARTG.


Assistive Technology Australia (prev Independent Living Centre NSW)
NSW Australia
Sales: 02 9912 5800
Contact Person: AT Australia Infoline Team
Toll Free: 1300 452 679


Whilst all care is taken to provide accurate information with respect to the item described, the Independent Living Centre New South Wales (ILCNSW), operating as Assistive Technology Australia, is not involved in product design or manufacture, and therefore not in a position to guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. Selection of equipment, which is both suitable and appropriate for individual needs remains the responsibility of the person(s) considering requisition, and no responsibility is taken by the ILCNSW (Assistive Technology Australia) for any loss or injury caused through use of the equipment or alleged to have arisen through reliance upon information provided. As information is subject to change any enquiries should be directed to the manufacturer.