An important item of care equipment to which we have been giving a great deal of consideration is the selection of an appropriate bed for the new home in Surbiton. Our existing beds in Richmond were purchased many years ago, and have performed well over the years and are still performing.
High-specification, high-performance beds available today do a lot more than simply go ‘up and down’. I remember during my nurse training days raising metal-framed hospital beds by pumping vigorously on a foot pedal on the side of the bed, and any adjustments to the base of the bed, for example if you wanted to raise the head end to achieve a seated, upright position was labour intensive and somewhat awkward.
However, changes in technology with the introduction of new functions and therapeutic benefits, advances in the approach to comfort, and also in the aesthetic appearance of beds designed for a care home environment give us an opportunity to consider what we will replace our existing beds with.
The senior nursing team, along with the Lead Physiotherapist have some experience in this area having been through a similar project when we were deciding which would be the most appropriate bed for the Solihull Home. Some residents in the Richmond Home were kind enough to trial a number of beds and we were able to select the bed which is now in use in Solihull.
We have taken a similar approach this time around and gathered information from high-specification bed suppliers to the care sector and shortlisted down to three who we invited to demonstrate an electric profiling bed and mattress from their range in the home.
This was an interesting process, and at times we needed to remind ourselves that we were assessing the quality of the beds and mattresses and not the quality of the presentation! All three presentations were in fact good, and we were able to try out the beds, mattresses and some accessories to see for ourselves how user-friendly they were, the level of comfort, cleaning and maintenance considerations, and the special benefits in pressure-relieving bed base and mattress systems.
The three beds were then trialled by a number of residents in the home who consented to sleep on the new beds and mattresses and provide us with feedback. A bed and mattress is quite a personal consideration and we received mixed reviews on all three as you might imagine. Staff were also invited to comment on the beds from their perspective and again a variety of comments were shared.
As there was no front leader emerging from this process, we asked each supplier to provide us with their bed for one more day for an assessment. This enabled us to put the beds side by side and directly compare their appearance, function, comfort and special design features. Cost is of course also a consideration and we obtained quotes for 60 beds without the mattresses as a starting point. Mattresses are so complex and varied these days that this is a whole separate blog topic for another day.
This ‘bed beauty parade’ was extremely useful and although we have yet to make a completely final decision, we are close to being able to do so, and feeling confident that we have undertaken a thorough process in making the right selection. The thing that has struck me throughout this process is how positive it is that specialist bed manufacturers are producing beds for care settings which look far more homely and domestic yet have the therapeutic functions and care benefits people expect. Thanks to all residents and staff who participated in this process – your involvement and feedback has been extremely valuable.