Patient Safety – Features of Mechanised Beds

Even with the considerable benefits of mechanised beds there are still potential patient safety issues to be addressed. One of these is the concern that a button could be accidentally pressed or used by untrained personnel, resulting in further damage to the patient.The new generation of mechanised beds aim to address these issues and provide patients with a safe and comfortable environment.

Safety problems with mechanised beds

When nursing staff are providing routine checks and care to patients, it could be possible to accidentally press one of the function controls. The bed could also be operated by an untrained or ill advised member of hospital staff. This could lead to the patient being put in an inappropriate or uncomfortable position. There is the risk that the bed could be used independently by a patient or visitor without the supervision of nursing staff.

Any of these scenarios could result in the bed being operated incorrectly for the patient. If they were to be positioned inaccurately it may cause additional damage and increase the rehabilitation period or affect the quality of life after discharge. The back and leg raiser functions are the most important, as imprecise use of these can affect spinal alignment.


Older mechanised beds had little safety features to protect the patient

Visitors as well as untrained nurses could often move beds to make the patient more comfortable, putting the patient at an increased risk.

Issues with locking devices

Early forms of mechanised beds utilised locking devices to try and prevent accidental use. These were not without their problems. They caused issues for nursing staff with electronic devices not providing enough time, damage to locks limiting use of the bed and keys being lost. These all put the patient safety at risk.


Patient Safety features of Mechanised Beds

Safety features are an important point in the increased use of mechanised beds and these were critical when developing the Legacy bed. This has been manufactured with a more durable system of isolating the controls, making it more effective at reducing accidental and inappropriate use.

The bed has large safety keys that fit into the bed frame. The ‘restricted function’ key stops the use of the back and leg raiser controls, thus preventing patients and visitors from putting the bed into a damaging position. If the current safety key is removed all operations of the bed are disabled. This could be beneficial for nursing staff at key periods, including visiting time. The keys should be kept by nursing staff or stored securely.

Patient Safety Key

The above image shows the safety keys and where it is inserted on the legacy bed.

One of the concerns for nursing staff was that they could accidentally operate the bed controls while providing care for their patients. The bed utilises a button to temporarily isolate power to the bed without preventing the battery from charging. The button is illuminated to indicate it is activated. There is an additional emergency button to cut all mains and battery power if necessary.

Emergency Stop button

The button that isolates power to the bed.

Mechanised beds provide a number of benefits to the quality of care and rehabilitation process of patients. The additional safety features now mean that patient safety isn’t compromised by the unplanned operation of the bed.

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