Tuesday, 14 August 2012

How to Choose the Right Mental Health Hospital Bed for Your Facility

Patient and staff safety are top priorities when selecting a hospital bed for use in mental health. The safety features required in the mental health environment exceed those of acute care. Oftentimes, the unique needs of mental health facilities can make choosing the right hospital bed a challenge.

Here are three steps to simplify your hospital bed decision-making process:
  1. Determine your equipment safety requirements and the unique needs of your hospital
  2. Consult accredited mental health design guides
  3. Make a list of the available mental health bed features in the marketplace and rank them in order of importance to your facility

1.  Determine your safety requirements and the unique needs of your hospital

Mental health facilities have patient safety challenges that differ greatly from acute care. Though every facility has its unique problems or challenges, many facilities cite seclusion, self-harming behavior, and medication as common patient challenges. It is important to identify these challenges and safety requirements when selecting a hospital bed.

Tampering: Agitated or restless patients are often prone to tampering with in-room equipment or furniture, and may exhibit self-harming behavior. It is important to select a hospital bed that features tamper-resistant hardware, a short power cord, and permanent bed components like the mattress deck and the headboard and footboard.

Staff Security: Staff safety is a priority in mental health facilities, and hospitals should look for beds that help staff know that the patient environment is stable and secure at all times. A bed security lock-out feature is ideal for electric hospital beds to ensure the bed cannot be tampered with or made unsafe by the patient.

Barricading: Some mental patients may be at risk for using in-room to block doorways from staff. Safety features to consider for preventing barricading include removable brake pedals, bed floor mounting, and patient security lock-outs.

Adverse Events: Openings in siderails and can pose serious risks for mental health patients. The space under a hospital bed has also been identified as an area of concern, as some mental health patients may hide or crawl under the bed while it is being lowered. It is important to consider safety features like filled siderails, filled head and footboards, and underbed obstruction sensors to reduce adverse events.

Patient Falls: According to the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, even “the mere presence on a psychiatric unit makes the patient at risk for a fall.” Medication, depression, agitation, confusion, and the encouragement to be active increase a mental health patient’s risk of falling. Using a 10” low hospital bed that reduces fall injuries is an ideal safety features to consider when selecting a mental health hospital bed.

Entrapment:  Patients who exhibit self-harming behavior are at an increased risk of entrapment in bedrails or between the frame and the mattress. Medicated patients are also at a higher risk of entrapment due to altered mental status and confused behavior. It is important to look for a hospital bed that is compliant with FDA entrapment guidelines.

2.   Consult accredited mental health design guides

The National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS) and The Department of Veterans Affairs have released design guides for mental health environments. Both design guides focus on a number of different areas to consider including building materials, light fixtures, and hospital beds.

When considering platform beds for your facility, the NAPHS design guide recommends non-adjustable beds without wire springs or storage drawers, to eliminate safety hazards. The VA suggests hospitals look for beds with rounded edges on all sides, with optional restraint loops on all sides of the bed. It is recommended that platform beds are securely anchored in place to prevent patients from barricading the door. Mattresses used on platform beds should be designed specifically for mental health facilities and should be resistant to contamination and abuse. Zipperless mattresses are ideal for use in mental health facilities.

For more traditional looking hospital beds, the NAPHS design guide recommends electric hospital beds that are specifically suited for mental health use. Hospital beds with obstruction sensors and lockout features for controls, reduced cords lengths, and tamper resistant features are ideal for the mental health environment. The VA specifically recommends electric hospital beds for older mental health patients who may require assistance getting in and out of bed. It is important that the electrical cord on the bed is less than 12” in length to prevent adverse events.

3.   Make a list of the available mental health bed features in the marketplace and in order of importance to your facility

No two hospital beds on the market are the same. That is why it is important to consider what features are of the most importance to your facility. By narrowing down the features you are most looking for in a hospital bed, you can select the bed that best meets the needs of your facility.

Here are a number of features to consider when selecting a mental health bed for your facility:

  • Low Height of 10” or less
  • Non‐Removable Bed Components
  • Tamper‐Resistant Hardware
  • Filled‐In Siderails, Headboard, Footboard
  • Compliance with all 7 FDA Entrapment Zones
  • Shorter Power Cord
  • Customizable Restraint Loops
  • Built‐in Patient Scale
  • Underbed Obstruction Sensors
  • 3‐Zone Bed Exit Alarm
  • Bed Exit Alarm History/Tracking Feature
  • Patient Siderail Control Lockouts
  • Total Bed Lockout
  • Security Code Bed Lockout with Timeout
  • Bed Exit Alarm ‐ Settings Lock
  • Programmable Nightlight
  • Bed Floor Mounting
  • Removable Brake Pedals (so wheels cannot be unlocked)
Though mental health facilities have unique needs when it comes to patient safety, choosing the right hospital bed doesn't always have to be a challenge. By selecting the features that matter the most to your facility, outlining your safety needs, and by consulting recognized mental health design guides, the purchasing process can be made easier.

For information on the CHG Mental Health Package, please visit our website.

Subscribe to CHG Hospital Beds for weekly blog updates on company and health care news.

CHG Hospital Beds specializes in low hospital beds that are designed to prevent patient falls and related injuries within acute care environments. We are focused on patient and nurse safety and deliver innovative solutions to meet the needs of our customers.

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