How should a profiling bed be used?





Most standard beds are flat based with a pull-out backrest, resulting in a tendency for the patient to slide down the bed and this increases potential for shearing forces. 

The right bed can enhance the quality of life of those who use them. Poorly designed or inappropriately chosen beds can have a significant detrimental effect (Harber et el 1987; Rush 2005).

In healthcare, around 5000 manual handling injuries are reported each year and accounts for 40% of all sickness absence with an associated cost of £400 million each year (The management of health, safety and welfare issues for NHS staff (Second edition) NHS Employers 2005). Corr (2005) stated that electric profiling beds will improve care and save money in the long term by reducing the manual handling injuries. Hampton (1998) identified a 75% reduction in the use of air mattresses on a ward that was using profiling beds and this has a cost saving. Combined with an automatic lateral tilt mattress, the cost saving in nursing time and maintenance of air mattresses is considerable.

There is certainly a lower risk level in terms of posture when using profiling beds compared to standard beds as well as reduction in the steps needed to complete the task. (Hignett and McAtamney, 2000). 

A study by Dealey and Keogh reviewed 70 patients on profiling beds. They identified that all the patients (35) on profiling beds were able to maintain a sitting position compared with only 12/35 in the control group. These results suggest there were significant differences in postural control and ease of transfer on profiling beds.

In the study by Hampton (1998), nurses reported it was significantly easier to transfer patients from bed to chair than those who were using standard beds. Used in conjunction with appropriate pressure relieving mattresses can reduce the incidence of pressure sores and reduce manual handling requirements.

The profiling bed should always have the knees profiled prior to the bed head. This ‘anchors’ the resident and prevents sliding and shear.

The slightest alteration in the back rest will realign the resident and reduce the potential for pressure ulcers.

The raise and lower function should be raised to a comfortable height for transfer from bed to chair and also to accommodate care, the bed should be raised to the comfortable height for the carers.


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