New Hospital Beds Benefit Patients and Staff

By Yavonda Chase

This is the first major new bed purchase since the new patient tower opened in 2009, and some of the beds being replaced are nearly 20 years old.

After many months of planning, the new beds began arriving on Monday, April 15.

Chelsey Harris pauses next to a bed crossing sign as she transports a bed from the loading dock to a patient room.

Chelsey Harris pauses next to a bed crossing sign as she transports a bed from the loading dock to a patient room.

“The new Stryker S3 beds have several comfort and safety features that will benefit both our patients and staff,” said Tim Hill, chief operating officer for UAMS Medical Center. “Patient feedback has been very positive, and staff are receiving fewer calls to reposition patients in their bed, so it’s a win-win.”

The bed replacement process involves a carefully choreographed route that begins in the back of an 18-wheeler in the Walker Tower loading dock and ends with placing the old bed in the back of another 18-wheeler parked in the same loading dock.

After each bed was unloaded from the truck, it went through a detailed safety inspection and cleaning, before it was made up with clean linens, covered in plastic and transported by freight elevator to the first floor of the hospital, where it was then transferred to either the trauma or F Wing staff elevator and up to the patient floor. When the bed arrived in the patient’s room, the patient was transferred to the new bed, and the old one is taken down by the same route to the loading dock. If a patient was unable to be transferred to a new bed, the room was flagged, and a new bed will be brought to the room toward the end of the bed replacement project.

The hospital is purchasing a total of 424 new general floor beds and 55 beds for the intensive care units, replacing almost all of the existing beds. The final shipment is expected to arrive in July.

Marcia McKenzie cleans a new bed before it is outfitted with clean linens and covered in plastic for the move to a patient room.

Marcia McKenzie cleans a new bed before it is outfitted with clean linens and covered in plastic for the move to a patient room.

Among the safety and comfort features for patients are softer, more comfortable gel mattresses, lights below the bed that come on when patients get out of bed and go off when they return, and a positioning system that keeps the patient’s head closer to the wall so they can more easily reach personal items on the nightstand.

The beds also have several features that help caregivers, including side rails that make it easier for patients to get in and out of bed with minimal staff support; a bedframe that keeps patients in place when their head is raised or lowered so they need less repositioning; a folding IV pole attached to the bed; a caregiver control panel at the foot of the bed; and the ability to lock the position of the bed.

Additional features such as a TV remote on the side rail, built-in fall alarms and more convenient electrical connections to the wall will be added in the next several months.

The old beds were purchased by a third party through the state procurement process.