How to Prevent Bed Sores with Medical Beds


What is decubitus? How can it be prevented among loved ones and patients? These questions and other related topics will be discussed in further detail in the following blog. Learn more about decubitus and preventive treatment, with an introduction by Paul Dvorak, editor of medical design and outsourcing.


AMETEK DFS Blog Decubitis Bed Sores ImageA decubitus ulcer or bedsore - is difficult enough to look at (Google "bedsores sores" after lunch) and more difficult to treat because the sores heal slowly. They form when a person lays still for too long limiting the blood and air flow to certain area of the skin.  As the epidermis breaks down it opens to expose the flesh below which is then easily infected. Ask a nurse how challenging it is caring for someone with bed sores.

As you would expect, preventing the sores is a far preferable treatment to monitoring their healing. This makes the medical beds discussed in the following article all the more impressive because they help prevent the formation of such ulcers. The beds do that by reducing the pressure to sensitive areas on a patient and keep it cool and dry. As you might also expect, there are low cost beds and higher cost versions with interesting options and therein lies the story of this blog.

Whether you're choosing a medical bed for patients in a hospital, or at home there are many considerations that need to be addressed which include: the patient and their needs, how "intelligent" does the medical bed need to be, and the reliability of the medical bed. All of these considerations can help you choose the right solution to prevent decubitus for your patient or loved one.

Considering the Patient's Needs

Deciding what type of medical air bed to purchase can be a tough decision. If you work in a hospital or you are purchasing a medical bed for home use, first consider the patient. How often will they be in bed? If they are able to help move themselves, they may not need a specialized air bed, a simpler option that inflates and deflates regularly may do. On the other hand, what if they can't move at all? Maybe they are in a state of unconsciousness and are not aware, in this case you may need a specialized air bed that can help move them so they don't develop bed sores. Next, you'll want to consider the overall health of the patient. If the patient is generally healthy, then there may be allow risk of developing pressure ulcers, and no need to purchase an "intelligent" medical bed. Finally, take into consideration the body build of the patient. Medical beds are rated for different patients and body builds. Although they may be generally healthy, their body build may call for a more advanced air bed.

Is Your Medical Bed "Intelligent?"

Photo of medical bed in modern hospital Once you have taken the patient into consideration, you can begin to review the different medical air beds and medical mattresses available for purchase. If a patient or a loved one has the ability to move their limbs and a low air pressure mattress which inflates, and then deflates by the use of the patient's weight. This type of medical air mattress can provide a low cost solution and meet their needs. On the other hand, they may need an "intelligent" medical air bed.

Now before I move forward, I'd like to clarify the use of the word "intelligent." As stated, an "intelligent" medical bed, would encompass a bed that is programmed to the performance needed by the patient. Some hospital beds use a brushless blower to provide the air airflow needed to prevent bed sores. The brushless blower provides the necessary air airflow to inflate and deflate different zones of the bed, and increase or decrease the amount of air airflow through the bed.

To better understand the capability of brushless blowers, let's review an example of an "intelligent" medical bed. AMETEK was approached by a medical bed manufacturer to help enhance a bed that needed pressure and suction capabilities, specific performance levels at different voltages and quiet operation. The engineering team worked for two days to meet the necessary performance levels and program the blower to meet the desired requirements. In their findings, they were able to create a dual function blower. This allows the customer to inflate and deflate different zones of the hospital bed at the same time using an external controller. This task is quite unusual for most blowers, AMETEK's dual function blower has air going into the inlet tube and leaving through the slotted cover. At the same time there is air coming into the slotted cover and moving through the other side of the blower and out the outlet tube. The working air and the cooling air are circulating in different sections of the blower, allowing it to stay cool and perform exactly as needed.

Along with a dual function blower, AMETEK engineers programmed the software of the blower using a lookup table that allowed them to be precise with their speed profile and command voltages. For this example, a lookup up table was needed, but AMETEK blowers can be programmed using an exponential curve, a linear curve, step­ by-step performance changes, or any performance that's under the performance curve.

How Reliable is the Medical Bed?

Finally, take in consideration the reliability of the hospital bed. Will the bed fail? What happens if their bed fails? You don't want them to be at risk for bed sores due to poor reliability from the medical bed they are using. Some beds are meant to last a long time, and others are a temporary solution. Certain patients may only need a temporary solution, since they will not be bedridden for a long period. Although, most will need a long term solution that is reliable.

Medical beds equipped with brushless blowers, especially AMETEK blowers, that are meant to last. A brushless blower has a much longer Life (20 times longer!) than a compressor inflated medical bed. The brushless blower does not have any contacting brushes unlike compressor blowers, so the blower stays clean and remains virtually maintenance free.

Overall, AMETEK blowers have a wide variety of capabilities and uses throughout the medical industry. In this specific case, we decrease the risk of patients developing decubitus (bed sores) through advanced programming technology and innovative thinking. Patients who use medical beds with an AMETEK brushless blower are able to rest easy knowing that bedsores won't be an issue.

At AMETEK Dynamic Fluid Solutions, we understand you’re looking for more than just an off-the-shelf part or one-time solution. You need a true technology partner who understands your engineering challenge that is focused on you, providing customized, collaborative solutions. We’ll also provide you with excellent customer service for a great total experience.

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