The development of turning beds in treating complex injuries

Mechanical turning beds are not a new invention. However, the present models have been substantially developed from the earlier ones. They now provide nursing teams with the ability to better care for complex care patients and reduce the incidences of further complications.

The Development of Turning Beds

Sir Ludwig Guttmann developed the comprehensive care pathway for spinal cord injury (SCI) patients, which was intended to improve the rehabilitation process. Before this was introduced, patients were routinely immobilised within plaster casts and beds. This resulted in higher levels of mortality, significant distress for the patient and an increased risk of additional complications occurring, including respiratory problems and pressure ulcers.

The new pathway established a routine where the patient would be turned every two hours, through the day and night. This practice reduced the development of pressure ulcers, but manual turning placed extensive pressure on nursing teams. This increased their overall workload, caused issues with staffing requirements and had serious health and safety implications.

Sir Guttmann introduced the first turning bed on to the market in 1967. This new development reduced the occurrence of pressure ulcers and other medical complications in SCI patients. Since then, turning beds have undergone a number of developments. The new generation of beds are now widely used in NHS and other hospital settings for both SCI and complex care situations. They enable nursing care teams to provide a better level of patient management, reducing any undue pressure on health workers.

The Legacy bed

The Legacy bed is one of the new generation of turning beds. It enables nurses to perform patient turns more easily and quicker, therefore limiting the amount of staff required and reducing the impact on the patient. The bed utilises a thermal-contouring mattress, which moulds to the patient’s body. This works to reduce cases of pressure ulcers and skin shearing in patients who are restricted in their movements.

Legacy Turning Bed

The mattress takes away some of the pressure when the patient is undergoing a turn, as their body weight is more securely supported throughout. It not only makes the turning process more comfortable for the patient, but once in position it quickly remoulds to provide a comfortable fit.

Routinely turning a patient is now established within the SCI pathway for treatment. Reducing the onset of pressure ulcers and preventing patients developing additional complications all help to speed up the rehabilitation process, which enables patients to be discharged earlier.

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