Beds are key items of equipment in health and social care, yet the importance of providing the right bed for patients and care service users is sometimes overlooked. In the UK, many hospital and community beds are of the standard hydraulic type. These are foot pump-operated with a flat base and a backrest.
Unlike a standard hydraulic bed, the base of the electric profiling bed (EPB) is sectioned. The mattress can therefore be profiled to sit the user up and prevent them slipping down the bed. The height can also be adjusted. Movement is powered and controlled via a bedside handset by staff and, if appropriate, the bed’s occupant.
EPBs can help overcome many of the difficulties associated with the positioning and mobilisation of individuals. Well-designed EPBs offer many advantages, including:
Whilst the last three of these are outside HSE’s remit, the first is not. Where patients or service users need to be handled in bed the reduction in risk is such that providing EPBs must be considered under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended).