Bed-bound patients are moved more efficiently for daily showers, meals
IT IS a common sight in hospitals – nurses pulling and straining to lift up bed-bound patients for daily showers and meals. At Singapore General Hospital (SGH), however, all nurses need to do is to latch a sling on such a patient, and use a remote control device to move him, say, to the toilet
The sling is attached to motorised ceiling tracks which have been installed in ward rooms and along the corridor. The system was installed in April at a cost of $150,000 in two six-bed rooms in SGH’s neurology ward, whose patients suffer from conditions such as stroke and nerve disorders which impair movement. The system will be extended to nine other rooms next month to cover 60 out of 77 beds in the ward. There are also plans to install it by 2013 in intensive care units where many patients are immobile.
The new system – developed by Sweden- based medical equipment company ArjoHuntleigh – saves time and manpower, and more importantly, lowers the risk of injury and falls for patients, said Ms Susan Loh, senior nurse manager at SGH’s neurology ward.
“Can you imagine being pulled and dragged by the staff, and then there’s the fear of falling or being dropped... It’s uncomfortable for patients,” she added. It usually takes three to four nurses to manually carry a patient, but one can operate this system alone. This way, a 20-minute task can be done in less than five minutes.
The system is a great help, especially for large patients. Ms Loh said the ward once had to care for a 200kg patient and up to eight staff had to be roped in to move him around. Nurses can opt to use the remote control or manually push the patient.
The system can also be used as a rehabilitation aid. Patients, attached to a different type of sling that allows them to walk, can rely on the system for support as they practise walking during rehabilitation sessions.
A third possibility is to use the system to turn and reposition bedridden patients regularly during the day.
This is to prevent them from developing bed sores and complications, such as chest infections, which can arise from prolonged inactivity.In total, the system is used by the patient an average of seven times daily – once for showering, three times for meals and another three times for repositioning. Another benefit is that nurses are protected from back strain – a common occupational hazard, said Ms Norhayati Ahmad, assistant director of nursing. Stroke patient Suppayyan Anandavalli Ammal, 74, said the system gives her asense of security.“Some of the nurses are so small compared to me,” the retiree said. “I feel secure when using the system; it is actually quite comfortable and seems quite sturdy.”
Two other hospitals in Singapore have installed this system but only for a limited span of movement. It does not extend to the corridor or connect to facilities such as the toilet.