From the February 2015 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine
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.
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“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.