Design and use of medical bed control panels... - page 2

I am not a nurse; I'm a designer - but would appreciate any comments. We're currently working on a novel medical bed with an extended range of movements and I've been tasked on the handset design.... Read More

  1. by   nerdtonurse?
    Make the "nurse call button" the largest button, put a light behind it, and maybe a certain shape? Something a 90 year old pt could use at 0300 without their glasses. And for pete's sake, put a voice pickup in the unit. We get pts who try to use them like they are microphones, and we can't hear them from the wall pickup.

    Put a bracket on the bedrail (outside) for the pt to put their control in. You'd cry if you realized how much time I spend up under a bed trying to find / untangle a hand held call bell, or how many times I hear "nurse! nurse!" out of a room because they've dropped it.. Make it removable if we've got someone who turns everything into a flying projectile.

    Think projectile vomiting, GI bleed (rivers of bloody stool), urine, feces, blood...all these things get on callbells, and all these things need to be cleaned off said callbell. When you work up a prototype, you can get a kit that simulates how bacteria adheres to hands and remains behind without good handwashing. Wipe said cream all over your interface, have a janitor (not one of your design team) clean it. Then see where stuff "sticks" and fix it. That also means taking it apart and seeing if anything gets inside the device at the intersection of wires, too. Don't turn the callbell into a MRSA/VRE haven.

    These things get dropped onto hard floors, a LOT. Make sure they're capable of taking multiple hard shocks, and the bed can run over the cord.

    Modular is good. Make it so I can replace the unit, the cord, or the the jacks, without the whole thing needing replacing.

    You want to see some really happy nurses? Put a control on the bed for turning it 30 degrees left to right. When I have a pt that is obese, and we're short staffed and I've got to turn that pt, it would help me if I could "roll" the pt down hill to their left, apply pillows and wedges, and then turn the bed back flat.

    When we put a pt on a specialty mattress, it often boosts them dangerously high (compared to the height of the bedrail). Some kind of bedrail that you could have in a normal or "specialty mattress height" would really improve pt safety. Also understand that those mattresses cover up a lot of the buttons on the bedrail, so the buttons need to be on the part that moves up.

    Emergency releases. Imagine it's 0300, your patient is trying to die, and you have literally got to RUN that pt to the ICU, CICU, etc. Make it so it takes me a split second to disconnect that bed. We've ruined wall panels because the jack won't come out of the wall when we've got to do an emergency transport of a dying patient, and we end up ripping them out of the wall.

    And finally....thanks for asking for our input. You'd be surprised how many times we get asked to evaluate a product where we know that they never consulted anyone who's worked in the field.
  2. by   missninaRN
    This has nothing to do with the controls, but could you please pass it on to the bed design team?

    Please make beds that will accommodate tall people! Even 6 foot tall patients are too long for the beds at my hospital. They have to lie with their knees bent or their feet hanging over the foot board. Neither option is appropriate. We had a 6' 4" patient last week who was absolutely miserable (while trying to recover from back surgery) because the bed was just too darn short.

    Bed designers have already realized that folks are getting heavier, hence the increased options for bariatric beds. But have they noticed that kids are getting taller and taller? Many of the next generation just won't fit the current beds.
  3. by   RMCS
    Once again, great comments and thanks for taking the time to respond. The design considerations for the bed have largely been taken care of, but any we've missed will be noted! There are several recurring themes emerging for the handset, so appreciate your comments.

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