New Beds Improve Care and Safety for Hospital Patients

For Immediate Release
Date January 8, 2010
Media Contact: Erica Cummings
(802) 447-5019


BENNINGTON — When patients go the hospital, the last thing on their minds is what kind of bed is underneath them. Nevertheless, hospital beds are about more than comfort. A new high-tech bed at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center will help the hospital prevent falls, reduce the chances that patients will develop skin problems, and is simpler and easier for staff to use.

“The new hospital beds are a big step forward in technology,” explained Carol Conroy, the hospital’s chief nursing officer. “It’s smartly designed to meet the needs of today’s patients in today’s hospital.”

Technology, such as advanced outpatient surgery, means that fewer people than ever need to stay in a hospital. However, those who do have more serious illness and frailty than ever before. Hospitalized patients tend to have multiple illnesses that make them more likely to fall, or to have skin ulcers caused when beds or chair put too much pressure on sensitive areas of the body.

Made by Stryker, the new beds come equipped with special features to address a wide range of safety issues that confront patients in the hospital. In addition to special mattresses designed to prevent skin breakdown, the bed has a built-in scale to weigh patients. It also has a special alarm system that monitors the distribution of a patient’s weight in the bed. When half of the patient’s weight shifts out of a pre-set area of the bed, an alarm sounds.

“Some patients cannot get out of bed safety, because of medications, surgery, or their physical condition” Conroy explained. “These patients must be helped up. So the bed alarm alerts caregivers before the patient actually attempts to get out of bed. That gives caregivers time to prevent a fall from happening.”

To make getting in and out of bed easier, the new beds also have special siderails that can be positioned to support both hands of the patient. The same siderails also can be set to provide extra security for a patient in the bed who is at a high risk of falling.

“A bed is so simple, yet so important for the safety of patients at our hospital,” explained PJ Venti, director of annual giving. “Our annual campaign is committed to helping SVMC with the purchase of the 67 beds and hope that employees and the community will give to generously to help as well.”

SVHC is part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care, a not-for-profit health system that exists solely for the benefit of the communities it serves. SVHC depends in part on the generosity of donors to deliver the high-quality care that is the system’s hallmark. For more information about donating to SVHC, call the Development Office at 802-447-5017.