Modern hospital beds address risk of falls, pressure ulcers

Each year, between 700,000 and 1 million patients fall in a hospital in the United States, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research.

About a third of those falls result in an injury to the patient. Sadly, about 11,000 of those falls lead to deaths. The agency estimates that non-fatal falls in adults 65 years and older cost about $50 billion each year, while fatal falls average a cost of $754 million each year.

Pressure ulcers are another all-too-frequent occurrence in hospitals. In some U.S. facilities, as many as a third of patients develop some degree of pressure ulcer while being treated or while recuperating from a surgical procedure.
To avoid becoming part of these statistics, hospitals have developed extensive protocols to reduce the risk of falls as well as patients developing pressure ulcers. One of the most effective methods of minimizing risk is to provide patients with beds and mattresses that incorporate the most current technology that can warn health care workers of potential issues.

Companies making high-quality hospital beds are Umano, Span-America and Oxy-Mat. All are leaders in the industry, well respected and available through Keckler Medical.

Umano’s beds are used in many health care settings — from high-acuity critical care through long-term care and even inpatient psychiatric or correctional health. They are designed to maximize fall prevention and infection control, while being easy to use for caregivers and the lowest total cost of ownership for the hospital’s budget.

One of their most important features is the low height of 10 inches off the floor, reducing the risk of a fall while the patient is in the bed as well as making it easier for patients to get in and out of bed. Ingress and egress are two of the riskiest times for falls.
Sensors alert nurses to when a patient gets out of bed, rolls near the edge or moves the upper torso (level of sensitivity controlled by caregiver). Lightweight construction and dual casters make the beds easy to move, but they also are sturdy – they can handle maximum patient weights up to 1,060 pounds, and have length and width adjustments for bariatric or taller patient needs.
The beds also include an integrated computer system, which incorporates the latest technology such as full-color smart screens, turn reminders, unique safety warnings and a system that logs patient weights and exit alarms. There are USB ports and auxiliary outlets to provide ease of use (for the caregiver and patient), reduce fall risk, remove trip hazards and allow for software upgrades over time.

Span-America and Oxy-Mat both offer mattresses that reduce the risk of pressure ulcers and skin shearing.

Span-America’s mattresses incorporate low air loss and pressure redistribution technology where body length air chambers slowly inflate and deflate to reduce pressure points and turn the patient every 12 to 15 minutes. Its Geo-Mattress® UltraMax™ reactive surface with 3-Dimensional Zoning™ offers protection to the seat section against “bottoming out” even during repeated head and foot of bed elevating. The UltraMax™ bi-directional stretch cover prevents heels, hips and shoulder blades from “digging into” the surface. Instead, patients are gently guided back to the original position following head of bed elevation.

The Oxy-Mat mattress has air pockets in foam that disperse pressure points “on the bony prominences” of the body. The unique design reduces the vertical and horizontal shear forces that lead to pressure ulcers in the sacrum, scapula, trochanter, ischium, head and heels. The mattress helps the patient’s own body to naturally optimize deep-tissue blood oxygen values in anatomical areas at the greatest risk of pressure injury development.

Whether the hospital’s initiatives are to reduce the risk of patient falls, reduce the risk of pressure ulcers, reduce the risk of hospital acquired infections or maximize (recently) reduced capital budgets, Keckler Medical can assist with products from Umano Medical, Span-America and Oxy-Mat.