New specialized beds provide more than just comfort to ICU patients

When thinking of a patient in the hospital and all the medical equipment that may be used to provide care, it’s not likely a hospital bed comes to mind. But at Guelph General Hospital, five new high-tech beds in the Bob Ireland Family Intensive Care Unit are valuable tools helping deliver high-quality care. Purchased thanks to the generosity of donors, the beds are reducing the risk of beds sores, lowering the risk of ventilator-acquired pneumonia while at the same time providing a safer environment for both patients and staff.

GGH staff quickly learned to appreciate what the beds can do, says Marlene DaGraca, Director ICU. “The beds really do support the work of our great staff and physicians,” she said. “For example, the bed can raise the patient into a full sitting position with their feet at floor level. This can make getting some patients in and out of bed much safer.”

The mattress is able to gently oscillate almost like ripples on a pond. That keeps the patient from developing bed sores that can result from being in one position over an extended period of time. The mattress can even twist and roll a patient on their side which helps takes the strain off of staff.

There are even a couple of low tech features which are quite clever, explains DaGraca. One provides some lighting so a patient can be checked without turning on the room lights and waking them up. “Another feature is having electrical outlets available on the bed so we don’t have to run cords across the floor for extra equipment. Staff and visitors don’t have to worry about tripping.”

The beds, at a cost of almost $50,000 each, were bought with donations raised during the Foundation’s most recent Black Tie Bingo gala. It’s a clear example of how donors can directly impact the quality of care at the hospital says Suzanne Bone, the Foundation’s CEO. “Beds might not sound sexy, but they are so important both to the care provided and our patients’ overall experience. In our ICU, our patients spend the majority of their time lying on the bed. What could be more important to their comfort?”