There are many factors that go into preventing hospital-acquired conditions, and with the federal government getting serious about reducing pressure ulcers, falls and health care-associated infections, bed and mattress manufacturers are taking note.
While “smart” certainly continues to be a buzzword for beds, with products that send patient data to nurses, some recent new releases focus on the basics to better target ulcers and infections as well as seepage; and make technological strides with improved patient monitoring and data collection in order to both improve care and boost the efficiency of caregivers.
Last November, for example, Sizewise introduced its NPT3 mattress, billed as the first pressure redistribution mattress with skin-sensing technology. Mary Nell Westbrook, chief marketing officer at Sizewise, says the mattress includes new gel-infused memory foam to help maintain an ideal skin temperature, along with a wrapped core to provide protection against seepage. The life of a mattress should be five to seven years, she says.
“Infection control is a huge topic,” Westbrook says. “I’ve seen some pretty horrendous pictures where a hospital has cut open a mattress and the seepage inside is pretty horrible. A mattress in and of itself shouldn’t be a disposable piece of equipment. Once an ingress has occurred, you can’t get that out of foam.”
ArjoHuntleigh markets its Skin IQ Microclimate Manager, a powered mattress cover for use with a pressure redistribution surface that moves moisture away from the patient’s skin. “It’s a different way of addressing the issue,” says Jason Tucker, ArjoHuntleigh’s senior director of marketing. “A fan is pulling air from within the surface, pulling air underneath the patient, and helps draw moisture away.”
The company also helps health care providers with programs around patient handling and pressure ulcer prevention. “We’re focused not just on products, but how we can, using our experience and our expertise, help customers reach goals related to clinical outcomes, financial targets and patient satisfaction,” Tucker says.
Repositioning the ‘smart’ way
Beyond the mattress, companies are introducing technology to help in pressure ulcer reduction, and this is where the “smart bed” comes in. As a start, the BAM Labs Smart Bed Technology gives caregivers the ability to provide individualized, patient-centered repositioning and then document that repositioning with the press of a button.
“We have optimized the scheduling for when these events need to happen,” says Mike Hanson, vice president of strategic partnerships at BAM Labs. Hanson says the scheduling can be tied to the individual patient’s needs and occur at the right time. A study of the product at three long-term care centers in Kentucky, published in the June 2014 issue of the Journal of Aging Science, found that over a 12 week period of using the Smart Bed Technology with 94 patients, the overall number of pressure ulcers decreased by 50 percent from baseline to the end of the study, and there was a dramatic 85 percent decrease in new pressure ulcer development during the study period.
Additionally, compliance with the two-hour turn schedule (the average time it takes for a nurse to complete a round) increased by 35 percent during the course of the study. Hanson says the study also adds to the body of knowledge, which is helping validate the standard two-hour turn schedule for patients who are at risk of developing pressure ulcers. In the past, an every two hour turn schedule wasn’t based on clinical evidence, but because it took two hours to do a round. Research is ongoing to identify optimal turn scheduling based on risk, surface, and other factors.
“The standard has been around in the medical community, but no one has been able to prove it because the technology wasn’t there,” Hanson says. Hanson says during the next study, they may look at whether two and a half or three hours is possible, “so patients can get enough rest and sleep.”
The Smart Bed Technology also detects presence in the bed, as well as trends in heart and respiration rate, using a touch-free sensor located under the mattress. This can identify if a patient is getting out of bed in the middle of the night, help assessments of length of time in bed, and provide data on heart rate or respiration rate trends. Changes in all these factors can provide objective data on depression, medication effects, stress, or even infection.
“What we do now is provide out-of-the box metrics reports and trends and support those quality initiatives that are coming from CMS and those other organizations,” Hanson says. “That has been an important topic for our customer base.”
The bariatric market expands
The bariatric segment remains one of the fastest growing segments of the hospital bed market. Jeff Ambrose, president of hospital bed distributer DiaMedical USA, says he’s been getting more and more inquiries even from smaller hospitals, which are seeing the need to offer bariatric options.
Ambrose says he often recommends the Burke Triflex II, a true bariatric bed with a 1,000-pound capacity, which he sells for $7,800 to $8,500. While some hospitals may make a choice between new or reconditioned standard beds, because of the demand, it’s nearly impossible to find reconditioned bariatric beds. “People need them,” Ambrose says. “It’s a new area of health care that hasn’t seen turnover yet.”
Patient mobility and fall reduction
Beds that turn into chairs, to help with patient mobility, are also seeing a high demand, as are low beds. In fact, in January, Stryker announced that it was acquiring Canadian company CHG Hospital Beds, which specializes in low-height hospital beds and related accessories, specially designed to reduce the risk of patient falls. The company also recently launched its Spirit One bed, an expandable low-height bariatric bed for the acute care market.
“The acquisition of CHG aligns with Stryker’s commitment to offering products that enhance the quality of care for both patients and health care professionals; in this case, aiding in the prevention of patient-related injuries resulting from a fall from a hospital bed,” Timothy Scannell, group president for medical surgery and neuro-technology at Stryker, said in a press release announcing the acquisition. “This acquisition will bolster Stryker Medical’s bed offerings and allow us to offer additional solutions to our customers.”
Keeping clean with copper
Infection control goes beyond the mattress. Copper BioHealth, a Chile-based startup that launched in 2013, has replaced the standard plastic-coated bed rails with rails made of copper, an anti-microbial element, on 150 beds in four Chilean hospitals, according to an NPR report late last year.
Andrea Cabello Cordero, business development coordinator for Copper BioHealth, says that while copper bedrails are more expensive than regular bed rails, the investment is worth it. The company’s bed rails cost between $890 and $1,370. Cordero compares that to a set of bed rails for electric Hill-Rom beds that cost $1,000 in Chile.
“It’s a fact that the bedrails are the most polluted surfaces in rooms of hospitals and clinics, which are cleaned between two to four times a day with various chemicals,” Cordero says. “That’s why we are focusing on this specific product. Antimicrobial copper bedrails reduce by 90 percent the microbial load on the surface, therefore the cost of investing in copper bedrails pays, not only decreasing infections … but also decreases the use of disinfectants and the impact of this on the environment.”
The company hasn’t yet assessed the impact of those copper railings in the Chilean hospitals. However, a 2013 study published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology looked at three U.S. hospitals, including the Medical University of South Carolina, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center that used patient rooms where items such as bedrails, tables, IV poles, and nurse’s call buttons were made of copper-based materials. The study found that the proportion of patients that developed a health care-acquired infection was 3.4 percent in the copper-outfitted rooms, versus 8.1 percent in regular rooms.
Cordero says the company’s business strategy is to commercialize antimicrobial copper bedrails, designed and manufactured in Chile, through a leasing model and an associated maintenance service.
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DOTmed Registered Hospital Beds February 2015 Companies
Names in boldface are Premium Listings.
Tony Asbille, Global Star
Brett Freitas, Encore Medical Technologies Inc
roger meyer, hbr healthcare
Alison Fortin, Global Inventory Management
Scott Scholl, Medical Inventory Control
Juan Sandoval, Monterrey Medical Equipment
Ryan Walker, HatchMed