Tuesday, 25 September 2012

What is a Low Hospital Bed?

What is a Low Hospital Bed?

You’ve read our 5 Reasons to Use a Low Hospital Bed ( ) and our follow-up, 5 More Reasons to Use a Low Hospital Bed ( ), but maybe you’re still wondering: what exactly is a low hospital bed?

With origins in the long-term care field, low hospital beds were created with fall prevention and patient safety in mind. Long-term care facilities realized that bed height was a major factor in patient falls and complications such as fractures, dislocations, and brain injuries, and created the low bed as a solution.

Later, hospitals began to implement their own fall prevention strategies for the aging population and new patient safety initiatives, “borrowing” the concept of the low bed.

The Low Hospital Bed Definition

Not every bed that can go high and low can be classified as a low hospital bed. For patient safety reasons, there is a height standard that hospital bed manufacturers must follow. A hospital bed that goes 15 inches low cannot be lumped into the same category as a bed that is 10 inches low to the ground – that extra 5 inches makes all the difference in low hospital beds.

The Hospital Bed Safety Workgroup, created by the FDA and a number of patient safety and national health care organizations, offers a definition to classify low hospital beds:

… The bed is considered “low” if, when the patient is sitting on the side of the bed with feet on the floor, the angle of the patient’s bent knees is 90 degrees or less.

Since the average female leg measures 15 inches from the knee to the foot, and the average male lower leg measures 16.3 inches, the mattress deck height of a hospital bed will need to be between 9 inches and 10.3 inches low to fit this definition. Low hospital beds must consider the height of the mattress, which is often 6 inches thick.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services simply considers the height of a low hospital bed to be between 8 -10 inches off the floor.

Standard hospital beds, at their lowest height, range from 15 inches to 22 inches. Though the extra 5 inches may not seem like much, studies show that a higher bed height can increase a patient’s risk of head and brain injuries from falls.

Low hospital beds are recommended by The Joint Commission, the FDA, and the VA National Center for Patient Safety as a top strategy to reduce patient fall injuries. The low height provides a safe resting height for patients and can minimize the risk of fall injuries such as fractures and dislocations. Patients who have experienced a fall in the past often feel more confident sleeping in a low hospital bed, which can reduce the risk of future falls.

Though typically recommended for use in cases when a patient is at risk of falls, low hospital beds can be used in any acute patient care area. Every patient can feel confident, comfortable and secure when resting at a low height.

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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