A bed in a care home needs to be a place of comfort, where a good night’s sleep can be guaranteed. And if a person’s condition means that they need to spend a considerable amount of their time in bed it’s vital that the care equipment available can provide a place of comfort for the patient. Having the correct support when asleep and when awake is important to ensure health and wellbeing. A quality bed also provides convenience and safety for the care home staff, through easier movement of patients and greater flexibility in caring procedures.
What is an electric profiling bed?
An electric profiling bed, or variable posture bed, is a bed that is sectioned, full adjustable and is controlled by a bedside handset. Depending on the condition of the patient an electric profiling bed allows the patient to use the handset to adjust their position for comfort, helping to give a greater feeling of independence and confidence.
Electric profiling beds give more options for supporting the patient than a standard hydraulic bed. Because the base of an electric profiling bed is sectioned the mattress can be positioned to allow the patient to sit upright or to raise or lower individual areas of the body depending on the needs of the patient. The height of the bed can be adjusted too, making it easier to move or treat the patient and reducing the potential risk of injury to the carer and the bed occupant. Profiling beds also feature integral side rails to prevent patient falls and to help patients and caregivers when repositioning.
How can an electric profiling bed help a patient?
An important problem for patients who spend a lot of their time in bed is the development of pressure ulcers. Pressure ulcers occur when a patient is left in the same position for too long. Pressure ulcers are often painful and uncomfortable and if left untreated can cause major health issues. An electric bed makes it easier to move patients and limit the amount of pressure placed on any one area of the body.
What are pressure ulcers?
Having an electric profiling bed provides care staff with various options for supporting a patient.
Changing the position of the backrest
Being able to move the backrest of the bed means that the patient can be placed in a flat position and an upright seated position, and at various angles in between. Adjusting the backrest accordingly can help a patient to get off the bed. It can also allow the patient to be in a more comfortable position if they wish to eat, read or watch television. And being able to adjust backrest of the bed quickly means that patients can sit up to talk to visitors and interact with those around them more easily.
A semi recumbent position can help a patient with breathing difficulties such as asthma and emphysema by helping to increase oxygen flow during sleep. When sleeping in a normal horizontal position gravity can effect throat tissues and increase airway resistance and the tongue can block the airway. Sleep in a slightly raised position can help to prevent these issues. Elevating the upper body can also help with the relief or prevention of heartburn and acid reflux.
Changing the leg elevating position
Raising the leg section on an electric bed can help with a variety of health conditions, particularly those that affect the circulation in the lower limbs such as high blood pressure or hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. Elevating the legs helps to reduce fluid; placing the legs in a raised position helps with edema where pain occurs from the pressure of too much fluid in the lower limbs. Reducing fluid will also help to soothe general aches and pains.
Profiling beds can also pivot at the knee area, supporting the thigh and lower leg and alleviating pressure on the heel. By activating the knee break first, before elevating the back rest, the patient can be prevented from sliding down the bed, an action that can cause skin shearing damage.
The Trendelenburg function on an electric bed gives the option to elevate the feet of the patient above their head, ideal for postural drainage.
Changing the height of the bed
Profiling beds can easily be lowered up and down. By lowering the bed the risk to any patients who may fall out of bed is reduced, and by raising the bed nursing home staff have easier access to patients and help with moving and handling practice.
How can an electric bed help care staff?
The diversity of options available with an electric bed can help nursing staff by:
- making it easier to move a patient
- helping with moving and handling practice
- preventing staff accidents, back issues and musculoskeletal disorders
- giving patients a more comfortable and dignified way of being moved
- helping to cut down on other issues associated with being in bed for a long time such as bed sores, sheering, breathing and circulation conditions
- providing safety for patients with specific requirements
- giving patients a degree of independence by being able to move and adjust their own position
Electric profiling beds can be heavier than a hydraulic bed and can take up more space. They are also more expensive, but the benefit of greater flexibility to relieve and prevent the issues that can arise from spending a considerable time in bed, outweigh any disadvantages.