ProBed Medical Technologies
115 First St. PO Box 1477
Sumas, WA, 98295
ProBed Medical Technologies Inc. is a Canadian company that was established in Abbotsford, British Columbia, in 1989. The challenge at that time was to develop a therapeutic product that would prevent or alleviate some of the complex medical conditions faced by temporarily or permanently immobilized persons.
The result of 12 years of research, development and constant testing is a computer controlled therapy system called the Freedom Bed™. The bed has been designed primarily with the human condition in mind and has been shown in clinical trials and through extensive patient testing to prevent, and assist in the healing of, life-threatening pressure sores (decubitus ulcers) as well as many other medical complications related to immobility
The primary function of the Freedom Bed™ is to slowly and quietly rotate the bed-user from side to side to relieve pressure and re-establish blood flow to compressed tissue. The bed’s computers drive this movement automatically on a customized programmed schedule so that the bed-user does not have to be woken up during the night to be manually turned. The result is an uninterrupted sleep for bed-users and their caregivers.
The cost of providing essential health care to immobilized persons has also driven the development and design of the Freedom Bed™. It is well known within the Health Care System that the primary cause of back, neck and shoulder injuries to nursing and support staff is the repositioning or transfer of immobilized patients. Our bed has been designed to help staff to avoid these injuries by automating many of the patient movements that have been done manually in the past. This has the dual advantage of allowing key staff to avoid lost time through injury and let them focus on other critical needs of their patients.
When you add up the savings from reducing lost staff time, hiring replacement personnel, additional employees to turn patients, compensation claims and the direct medical costs associated with treating medical complications of immobility, it is clear that these savings will rapidly repay the initial investment in ProBed’s technology.
ProBed’s Solution – The Freedom Bed™
ProBed has created a BETTER way to care for the immobilized individual!
The Freedom Bed™ is a unique, computer-controlled, therapy system that manually or automatically turns the bed-user to different stable sleeping positions without the aid of caregivers or institutional staff.
The bed closely mimics the body's natural nocturnal motion by mechanically repositioning it in order to re-establish blood flow to compressed tissue and thus prevent the formation of life-threatening bedsores and other complications of immobility. The motion is timed (rather than random) when under computer control and the rate is adjustable to permit the accommodation of a wide variety of sleeping patterns. Clinical studies and testimonials confirm that the ultimate benefit of the Freedom Bed™ is better health and an improved lifestyle for bed-users and their caregivers.
How does The Freedom Bed™ work?
The horizontal surface of the bed that supports the mattress is hinged into three longitudinal sections. The user of the bed is positioned on his/her back in the centre of the three-part platform (the sleeping platform).
As the bed smoothly and quietly rotates to one side the outer section of the three-part platform on the lower side turns up to form a “wing” which supports the body along its entire length from the ankle to the shoulder. Thus the bed-user is carefully cradled by the bed’s structure to prevent sliding and shear forces that can increase the potential of developing bedsores. Any pressure transferred to this side of the user is thus dispersed along the entire frame of the body. The wing on the upper side of the platform lowers during this process to properly balance the entire platform and provide integral strength throughout the structure. As the bed reverses the rotation the lower wing rises as the higher wing lowers so that, at the horizontal position, all three sections of the platform are horizontal. The bed then automatically rotates to the other side to complete the cycle.
The design of the bed allows for the turning of the user along the spinal axis that creates a minimal feeling of rotation (turning). The slow rate of rotation, combined with the smoothness and quietness of operation, allows the user to enjoy uninterrupted sleep throughout the night.
Another feature unique to The Freedom Bed™ is the air-powered head and leg raising system that allows the user to be raised into the sitting position. The system is unique in that it can be adjusted to meet the requirements of each individual user of the bed rather than being built to accommodate the “average” person. The key benefit of the design is the low-pressure air cushions under the mattress that raise the user. These cushions of air conform to the users body shape, and provide a complete range of ergonomic positions. This also minimizes pressure under the sacrum thus reducing the risk of pressure sores developing while elevated.
A key feature of the Freedom Bed™ is its ease of operation. User-friendly control panels allow caregivers to easily program the bed for automatic use or to adjust any of the bed’s operations manually. Changing the operation of the bed from automatic to manual or from manual to automatic is a one-step procedure. Additionally, an override button is available that allows users with minimal mobility to change the programming of the bed and to move from automatic to manual and vice versa. With the high number of features and functions available, there is also a system of safety “lock-outs” permitting the caregiver to determine the choice and number of functions that bed users may access from their control panel.
The functioning of the bed allows the user to be smoothly and quietly turned through a 60° range of rotation – from the horizontal position to up to 30° left and 30° right. Rotation can be programmed to stop at any position to meet the specific comfort and positioning requirements of the user. Additionally it allows the bed to “dwell” at the programmed position (left, center or right) for any period of time between one minute and a maximum of four hours. A typical turning schedule might be as follows:
- Horizontal for 30 minutes, then
- 23° right for 1 hour, then
- Horizontal for 30 minutes, then
- 27° left for 45 minutes
The program would automatically repeat with the next move being back to horizontal.
Benefits for the Bed User
The many features of the Freedom Bed™ provide a number of key benefits to immobilized bed-users such as:
- The automated turning process allows for more frequent turning to address the multi-system pathophysiological events associated with immobility. Also referred to as kinetic therapy, this turning not only provides pressure relief to prevent or treat bedsores but it can also produce, for example, a dramatic reduction in the incidence of respiratory problems and urinary tract and bladder infections
- Significantly better quality of sleep since the bed-user does not have to be manually turned during the night and is not woken up by the bed turning. This creates better mental clarity, better health and an improved lifestyle, free from dependence on caregivers during the night
- The opportunity to live in a home setting instead of an institution
- Pain reduction
- The bed can still rotate when the torso is in a raised position up to 20°. This can be added to the Reverse Trendelenberg position if suitable, for a maximum included angle of approximately 30° . A pillow adds more elevation again. This is of significant benefit to people who are tube fed
- Prevention or reduction of gastro-esophageal reflux
- Better respiratory health and clearance of upper respiratory and oral secretions
- Reduction in spasticity and abnormal toneImproved comfort
- Improved bowel regularity
- No dehydration and subsequent electrolyte imbalance since the bed creates no heat
Benefits for Home-Based Caregivers
- The physical and mental tasks associated with caring for immobilized persons can place a considerable burden on spouses, parents, etc. The physical requirements of manually turning an immobile person frequently mean that family members become unable, through age and/or infirmity, to provide the required assistance. This results in institutionalization of the family member.
- The Freedom Bed™ has been designed with the caregiver very much in mind and provides considerable benefits along with the ability to provide a significantly better quality of home-based care.
- The Freedom Bed™ automatically turns the bed user during the night thus eliminating the need for the caregiver to get up every two hours. Sleep deprivation is considerably reduced and thus caregiver physical and mental fatigue are decreased
- There is a reduced need to manually turn or reposition the user and thus a decreased chance of the caregiver developing neck, shoulder or back injuries
- Head-raising and leg-raising system, and bed height adjustment assists in positioning the user for personal care and for transfer to and from a wheelchair
Benefits for Institutions Providing Care to Immobilized Patients
There are a number of significant benefits that accrue to institutions as a result of investing in the Freedom Bed™. These include:
- Increased productivity of nurses and facility support staff by reducing the amount of manual patient turning that is required. This allows staff members to use their time more effectively and productively in the care of their patients
- An effective way to treat or avoid pressure ulcers and other complications of immobility
- A method to protect healthcare personnel from debilitating back, neck and shoulder injuries (caused by moving or turning patients) that lead to considerable time off work and the associated costs of sick days, workers compensation claims, and hiring of replacement staff.
- Reduced Staff Turnover, reduces costs of recruiting, hiring and training, and of using more expensive staff when CNA’s not available
- Reduction in legal claims against healthcare facilities for bedsore development.
Cost Benefits to the Health Care Industry
For an industry struggling to get its costs under control the Freedom Bed™ offers significant savings by focusing on a strategy of prevention of the problems before they occur. It offers:
- Substantially reduced direct medical expenditures associated with repeat hospital admissions to treat pressure ulcers and other complications of immobility such as bladder and respiratory infections. It has been found that prevention of bedsores is 2.5 times less expensive than treatment – Oot-Giromini (1989)
- Support for a de-institutionalizing strategy that allows chronically immobilized patients to be moved from hospitals back to their homes (or to assisted living environments)
- Avoidance of costly readmissions from bedsores or other systemic complications
- A method to reduce the length of hospital stay for specific groups of patients. Treating critically ill patients with kinetic therapy has been shown to reduce intensive care stays by 24 percent. The movement helps reduce risk of infection and complications from pneumonia and other respiratory problems that affect about 20 percent of intensive care patients. A study in 1987 that was published in the journal “Stroke” showed that the risk of infection for stroke patients placed on normal hospital beds was 2.9 times greater when compared with a study group of patients placed on rotating beds (Stroke 18, No 3 May-June, 1987).
- Significantly reduced costs of compensation claims for nursing and support staff injured during repositioning or transferring of immobilized patients. In a study conducted for the Workers Compensation Board of British Columbia in 1996 it was found that manual lifting, transfer or repositioning of residents (without assistance from mechanical aides) was responsible for 63% of all back, neck and shoulder injuries.
- Substantially reduced time lost by nursing and support staff from neck, back and shoulder injuries. Reduces the problems of finding replacement staff.
- Significantly reduce the number of staff involved in turning patients (particularly during the night). This will reduce costs and allow staff to focus on providing a significantly higher quality of care.