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Support Surfaces

RESNA Standards Committee on Support Surfaces (SS)

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Meetings are open to anyone; voting on documents requires membership. Each standards committee is required to maintain a balance in membership. It is important to the work of the committee that we have participating members from various aspects of expertise in evaluating the characteristics of full body support surfaces. This includes manufacturers, users, clinicians, distributors, researchers, suppliers, and testing organizations. The committee is currently looking for users, distributors, and testing organizations. Anyone is welcome to join the committee.

The work of the committee will impact persons that use hospital beds, manufacturers of hospital beds and support surface overlays, home healthcare companies that distribute this type of equipment, hospitals, long term care facilities and other entities that purchase and use this type of equipment, and insurance companies and government organizations that pay for this type of equipment.

RESNA is a standards developing organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The RESNA Assistive Technology Standards Board is the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to ANSI for the development of ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards pertaining to assistive technology and other products for persons with disabilities.



Kristen Thurman
Agiliti Health


Michelle Deppisch
Michelle Deppisch


Ann Tescher
Ann Tescher
Mayo Clinic



Work Program

RESNA SS-1 Support Surfaces Volume 1: Requirements and Test Methods for Full Body Support Surfaces

Full body support surfaces play an integral role in any care plan for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers. They can make a monumental difference in quality of life for any patient with limited mobility. Since no one full body support surface is best for all patients, a wide variety of surfaces, including mattresses, mattress overlays, and integrated bed systems are available in a broad array of materials. Choosing from this growing list of alternatives has become a daunting task for clinicians, care givers, and patients. Selecting from the available alternatives is further complicated by the lack of consistent information regarding full body support surface characteristics. 

Clinicians, manufacturers, vendors, and patients all stand to benefit from the development of standardized procedures to evaluate the characteristics of full body support surfaces. Detailed information provided by standardized testing will help clinicians to objectively match a full body support surface's characteristics with the needs of individual patients. Testing standards will also aid manufacturers by guiding new product development and in the redesign of existing products. Testing standards will promote quality assurance within the manufacturing process. Vendors too, will benefit by being able to clearly describe and compare products from multiple manufacturers. Lastly, patients will benefit by having a full body support surface that truly supports their needs.

RESNA SS Volume 1 consist of the following sections under the general title Support Surfaces:

Volume 1: Requirements and Test Methods for Full Body Support Surfaces

  • Section 1: Vocabulary
  • Section 2: Standard protocol for measuring immersion in: full body support surfaces
  • Section 3: Standard protocol for measuring heat and water vapor dissipation characteristics of full body support surfaces – body analog method
  • Section 4: Standard protocol for measuring heat and moisture dissipation characteristics of full body support surfaces – sweating guarded hot plate (SGHP) method
  • Section 5: Support Surface Horizontal Stiffness Test
  • Section 6: Envelopment and Immersion – Hemispherical Indenter Test
  • Section 7: Envelopment with Dual Semispherical Indenter Test
  • Section 8: Standard Protocol for Measuring Water Vapor Dissipation Characteristics of Full Body Support Surfaces – Heated Water Bladder Method

ISO Related Activities

ISO/TC 173/ WG11 Assistive products for tissue integrity