Meeting the needs of an ageing population to reduce falls and promote enhanced care, dignity and independence
The UK population is transforming. Thanks to medical advancements and better public awareness of the lifestyle factors that contribute to shorter life expectancies, we’re living longer lives. While this is of course to be celebrated, it also presents increasing challenges to the multiple agencies involved in providing care and support to older people – both in a residential setting and out in the community. As demand for age care services increases, and funding has to be fought for tooth and nail, operating both effectively and efficiently has arguably never been higher up the management agenda for providers of care.
Beds may seem far removed from the coal face of caring for older people, but the role innovative bed technology is playing, and has the potential to play, for not only our most vulnerable care home residents but also for those living in sheltered housing or in their own homes, is significant. Whether it’s helping to reduce pressure ulcers or minimising the risk of falls; modern, innovative and adaptable beds and mattresses can make all the difference when it comes to safeguarding the wellbeing of older people, whilst at the same time helping to reduce cost for providers.
Reducing the risk of falls
It is estimated that the direct cost of falls in NHS hospitals alone is around £15 million per year. With 22 per cent of people who fall in hospital falling from their beds, there is a clear need to effectively tackle the root cause of preventable harm in order to deliver safer care and an enhanced experience – especially to those at greatest risk, such as older or disabled people.
A significant number of falls result in death or severe or moderate injury. Many of these falls occur when the person is trying to mobilise around the bed-space. Selecting beds especially designed to prevent falls occurring is an effective means of tackling this problem and reducing preventable harm from occurring. As an independent provider of beds, mattresses and equipment to the health and care sectors, Medstrom’s focus has always been to offer the most appropriate and innovatively designed beds to prevent falls and other types of preventable harm, such as pressure ulcers. The MMO 5000+ ultra-low bed can lower to an ultra low height from the floor – a feature that offers several benefits. For example, older people who are restless, confused and vulnerable whilst in bed, and are at risk of falling out, can be nursed at just 19cm from the floor, thus minimising the risk of injury, should a fall occur.
Retaining a sense of dignity and independence into older age is essential to a person’s wellbeing and sense of self. As a society, we’ve come a long way in relation to the way we treat and care for older people. Person-centred care has replaced a task-based approach. Our understanding of dementia has increased and we are now far better equipped to link the theory of how we should communicate and care for older people with the practice. Assistive technology is already taking giant leaps in enabling greater degrees of independence to older people – helping them to remain living safely at home for longer.
Early mobilsation is closely linked to providing older people with a sense of independence that is so important for both their physical and emotional wellbeing. For most people, mobilisation without the need for hoists or significant carer intervention can provide a far greater sense of dignity. Medstrom’s MMO 5000 and 5000+ offer a platform that is low enough to create a safe environment that will encourage independent and safe mobilisation – taking the person from a lay flat to a safe, supported standing position with ease and comfort.
Rising to the challenge of caring for bariatric clients
The population is not just ageing. Obesity is now recognised as a global epidemic and around 25 per cent of the UK population is classed as obese. The UK’s obesity rates are among the highest in Europe, presenting health and social care providers with the duel challenge of catering for the multiple health problems associated with obesity, and the frequency in which obese individuals require treatment, in comparison to those of a normal weight, and understanding the unique challenges bariatric patients present. These typically relate to impaired mobility; bariatric patients are at higher risk of falls due to their body weight and mass inhibiting movement and flexibility. Impaired respiration, increased risk of pressure damage, compromised healing and excess sweating and moisture build-up are also key differentiators specific to severely obese clients.
Innovative bed technology and effective bed management can make a world of difference for both carers and the bariatric clients themselves. Ultra-low beds can help to prevent injury, should a person fall from bed. In addition, the ability to set a custom height for entry and exit position makes entering and exiting the bed safer for those who are able to be mobilised. The wider bed width offers more space for turning and can reduce the likelihood of bed rails causing skin damage due to contact pressure. Innovative mattress technologies can also reduce tissue damage and prevent pressure ulcers from occurring. In addition, with a ‘total bed management’ contract in place, specialist beds and mattresses can be accessed quickly to meet clients’ needs.
Making the right choice
The MMO range incorporates a number of models, but the MMO 6000 is the benchmark product – the first bed to challenge immobility on such a scale by taking the user from supine to sitting, progressing to an inner chair position and then assisting to a safe and supported standing position. MMO 5000 and 5000+ incorporate the same design aspects of the MMO 6000 but are ‘ultra-low’ and therefore better suited to people most at risk of falls. The MMO 8000 offers the same functionality as the MMO 6000 but has been designed specifically to cater for bariatric clients. Each of the beds in the MMO range incorporate platform technology with common functionality and controls. This standardisation makes it easier for carers to use the beds correctly, makes training quicker and can reduce both maintenance costs and downtime.
Innovative beds are one way care providers can address multiple challenges with a single solution: improve care, empower carers, operate more cost effectively and do what they do best: care for those unable to care for themselves.
If you would like more information or are interested in speaking to a clinical equipment specialist at Medstrom, please call 0845 371 1717 or visit http://www.medstrom.com/