Article Published in Peer-Reviewed Journal of Psychosocial Nursing Describes the Development of an Electric Medical Bed for an Inpatient Psychiatric Environment

  • 2/4/2013

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Feb. 5, 2013 -- Kansas City, Mo. -- An article published online in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing illustrates how electric medical beds were developed by Sizewise for University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC). Over a 12-month period of continual use, staff observations suggest improved patient outcomes and potential decreases in caregiver injury. This article is the first of its kind to explore creating a safe environment for acute care psychiatric units and the use of electric hospital beds.

The article, written by Clinical Director of the Behavioral Health Nursing Science at UIHC, John J. Wagner, MA, RN; and Assistant Professor-Clinical at the University of Iowa-College of Nursing, Todd N. Ingram, MA, RN, was a result of a decision made by UIHC to replace old, non-electric medical beds for the adult inpatient psychiatric units. For the past 25 years, UIHC and the behavioral health service (BHS) units used non-electric medical beds that required a mechanical hand crank to raise or lower the head and foot of the beds, but height adjustments could not be made.

A Safe Electric Medical Bed for an Acute Inpatient Behavioral Health Care Setting provides psychosocial nurses and BHS units with the first published article on the benefits of using electric behavioral health beds. The article also demonstrates how the electric beds were adapted and reveals how a total of 58 beds were purchased on a total of three adult behavioral health units, detailing their impressions after utilizing these beds for over a year.

The UIHC has a total of 88 BHS, including inpatient behavioral health units that specialize in eating and mood disorders, geriatric, neuropsychiatric and child and adolescent behavioral health care as well as a medical psychiatric unit.

Article Summary
The Director of Nursing Finance at UIHC asked the BHS management team to consider the purchase of electric beds for the inpatient units. Although electric beds have been used on the medical psychiatric unit, they had never been considered for traditional behavioral health units. Electric beds traditionally had posed a threat to actively suicidal patients due to the inherent electrical current, wires and moving parts.

Wagner and Ingram's article demonstrates how 58 electric beds were adapted to meet the safety requirements of the BHS unit, eliminating concerns of suicide, falls and possible strangulation. The article also demonstrates that after 12 months, the beds proved to be safe and functional, with no incidents of patient or staff injury.

About University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is recognized as one of the best hospitals in the United States and is Iowa's only comprehensive academic medical center and a regional referral center. They are committed to providing patient-focused care--available to every person, around the clock--in an environment devoted to innovative care, excellent service and exceptional outcomes.