Five-year replacement strategy prioritizes patient, staff safety
Most lives begin and end in them. We spend roughly a third of our lives sleeping in them. We heal and recover in them during hospital visits.
Just as beds are essential to how we function and live our lives, hospital beds are critical, often overlooked pieces of equipment needed for patient care. Modern, state-of-the-art hospital beds improve safety for patients and staff, and help lead to better health outcomes and overall experiences.
“At the simplest level, most patients come to the hospital because they have pain they can’t control or their mobility has been limited,” says Tanya Solberg, Director of Diagnostic & Therapeutic Services. “When paired with medicine, procedures and therapy, the bed is one of the most important tools staff and physicians use to support patients along their care journey.”
Investing in modern patient care equipment
Yukon Hospitals is in the midst of a five-year initiative to modernize and replace its fleet of beds and stretchers across all three facilities. Watson Lake Community Hospital received six new beds last year. Beds in Dawson City and Whitehorse are being replaced over the next four years.
With a recommended lifespan of a decade, Yukon Hospitals must use a sustainable, phased approach to replace the old with the new.
“A bed isn’t just a bed—it’s a piece of technology that has become quite advanced in terms of how it supports your care,” says Lara Murphy, Director of Patient Care and Experience. “And just like other technology, as it needs to be repaired or replaced, we focus on priority areas each year.”
Modern inpatient beds cost around $10,000 each. Specialty beds, like those for bariatric or maternity patients, cost over $30,000 each. Yukon Hospitals’ five-year initiative is an investment of about $750,000, or $150,000 annually.
Delivering better patient experiences, meeting evolving care needs
Modern hospital beds offer much more than brakes, rails and wheels.
The models Yukon Hospitals is adding to its fleet have advanced monitors that alert staff and patients visually, audibly or remotely of unsafe movements, which can be helpful for patients with memory or cognitive impairments.
They also feature a one-touch scale and electronic adjustable air mattresses, which can be quickly inflated or deflated based on a patient’s needs. Pressure can be changed to ensure patients can feel the surface below them. Combined with better surfaces, these features improve healing and prevent the worsening of wounds.
“Beds are now smart, connected devices that help keep patients safe and comfortable by minimizing falls or injury,” says Lara. “From wound and fracture care, to proper circulation, pressure relief, and adequate rest, our state-of-the-art beds play a huge role in patients’ recovery and the regaining of their independence.”
Modern hospital beds also meet new and expanding patient care needs.
“Whether it’s specialized bariatric beds with a higher weight capacity and width to care for heavier patients, or maternity beds that provide support birthing and new mothers need to be comfortable with their babies, our technology and equipment adapts as patients’ needs evolve,” Lara adds.
Big benefits for staff, too
New beds also improve staff safety, morale and job satisfaction.
The new beds can easily elevate, lower and adjust in many more configurations, which can be tailored to a patient’s needs and abilities when staff provides rehabilitation in the patient’s room.
“A good hospital bed can promote independence in safe movement during a hospital stay, which is a key part of the healing process,” says Lauren Barrett, Clinical Leader of Medical Rehabilitation Services at Whitehorse General Hospital. “Patients can now move around in bed easier, and transfer to sitting at the bedside more comfortably and securely. As a result, there can be less lifting and straining for both staff and patients, and reduced risk of injuries for staff.”
Beyond patient healing, modern beds also improve patients’ quality of life and the work experience of those caring for them, which is why it has been important to include staff in the process of identifying needs and priority areas when updating the fleet.
“The new additions to the bed fleet allow us to customize equipment to meet patient needs, rather than being constrained by the older beds’ limitations,” says Lauren. “Updated equipment also adds an element of improved dignity. When a patient has an appropriately fitting bed that meets their needs, it can affirm their personal value during a vulnerable time of life. When we know a patient’s comfort and dignity are maintained, and that as a team we’re offering the best possible care and equipment, it’s a big boost to staff morale, and makes for a good day at work.”