In the healthcare industry, the process of acquiring medical equipment and technology can be overwhelming. You need to determine which equipment is best for your medical practice, choose the right vendor, and finally select a way to finance your investment. To alleviate the pressure that comes with choosing and buying hospital beds, we have gathered five considerations before making the purchase. 1. Different Categories of Hospital Beds In general, there are six different categories of hospital beds based on functionality and needs. These include:
- General Medical/Surgical beds: These are the most commonly used beds in a hospital. They feature many patient conveniences like room controls (lights, TV, etc.), phones, and nurse call functionality. For the hospital staff, many beds have motorized controls, bed exit alarms, and a variety of mattress options. These may include inpatient rehabilitation, postpartum, and hospice care beds.
- Intensive care beds: These beds are used in departments such as cardiac, surgical, and neurological departments, and additionally feature advanced controls and sophisticated mattresses. Some examples include rotation, low-air-loss, percussion, and wound care.
- Labor and delivery beds: Designed for OB/GYN procedures, these beds have special accessories for immediate delivery needs.
- Patient transport beds: Stretcher and procedural transport beds make moving patients from point A to B easy. Large casters and motorized options help caregivers around the hospital and in emergency departments. Variations include options for patients with special needs like bariatric patients.
- Imaging beds: The bed surface is designed to work with imaging device. Some allow x-rays to pass with minimal obstruction while others are metal-free to be used in MR suites. There are a wide range of options within this category.
- Surgical tables: Utilized in the operating room of a hospital or ambulatory surgery center, these beds help surgeons position the patient exactly as needed. Many options for surgical beds exist and are based on the types of surgeries or procedures being performed.
2. Manual Versus Electric Hospital Beds Depending on the type of hospital bed needed, there is an option for manual, semi-electric, and electric beds. Manual hospital beds are adjusted with hand cranks that raise and lower different parts of the bed. If height adjustments or similar accommodations are not needed too often, a manual bed may be the more economical option. Manual beds are also preferred in psychiatric facilities because of their simplified design and ability to reduce hazards. If patients require closer monitoring or care, an electric hospital bed is more appropriate. Electric beds fall into two categories: full electric beds and semi-electric beds. The difference between these two categories is that full electric beds offer additional control in terms of positioning; height, head, and feet adjustments can be modified with a remote and the push of a button. Conversely, semi-electric beds offer some control, but other adjustments are manual. For example, height may be adjusted electronically, but head and feet adjustments will have to be done manually. 3. Additional Optional Features All hospital beds are equipped with some degree of flexibility in positioning, but some models have additional features to improve flexibility. For example, some beds have the ability to move side rails or other areas of the bed. Others have the ability to move the bed from room to room, and wheels on the bed improve mobility. Adjustments made to the bed can be pivotal in the specific care of some patients. Additional features can be bundled onto the same bed frame, so when making the decision of which features to include, consider both the patients’ needs and the specific environment in which the bed will be used. 4. Stakeholder Input The fourth consideration to make before buying hospital beds is stakeholder input. Stakeholders in a hospital or healthcare center include everyone who has a vested interest in the success of the facility, not solely the board or directors who have a bigger say regarding expenditures. These include nurses, administrators, physicians, and sometimes even patients. Their input is important because these stakeholders know what equipment and features are necessary for the success of the hospital, including hospital beds. 5. Support After Purchase When you consider how expensive hospital beds can be, the option of support and maintenance after the purchase becomes paramount to the durability and longevity of the bed. Whether it is a general unit or intensive care bed, it may be difficult to manage repairs using internal resources. Bed maintenance often necessitates extensive training for clinical engineers. A popular solution healthcare facilities are adopting is to bypass this training and use their suppliers to outsource bed maintenance. This allows them to focus on patients while leaving preventive maintenance, repair for broken beds, refreshing to new technology, and routine mattress refreshes up to a third-party. Final Thoughts There’s a lot to consider when planning for capital equipment purchases. It may be beneficial for you to consider partnering with a vendor-neutral third party like Meridian Leasing to help you examine the best strategy for your equipment needs. When buying a hospital bed, it is important to consider the different categories and options. Most importantly, it’s about selecting the right feature set for your stakeholders and patients.