The bed is one of the most important kinds of medical furniture. They provide the venue for diagnosis, inspection, surgery, and post-operative rest. Medical beds have evolved into several distinct classes – each of which has a prescribed use in a hospital, nursing home, or General Practice setting. Here is a quick rundown of the kinds of medical beds in widespread use today.
Nursing homes typically have a dual purpose: they are both medical centers and long-term residential units. The beds used in these institutions reflect this duality. They are often much more similar in appearance to regular domestic beds than other medical furniture. Although they might look like regular beds, they have several features that make them fit for nursing home use. This can include full adjustability, a low frame height, or fluidized mattresses. There is no one ‘perfect’ nursing home bed: many variations on the concept have been developed. For some idea of the variety in the field, check out medical-supermarket.com.
The Gatch bed is the most basic kind of adjustable hospital bed. It contains no electrical parts but is instead moved using springs and levers. Gatch beds typically have three adjustable sections that allow a patient or their physician to alter the height and angle of parts of the body in order to relieve discomfort. This kind of bed was invented in the early 20th century by the visionary Dr. Willis Gatch – who wanted to develop a system to relieve patients of discomfort after an operation. Gatch beds are still used in rural areas or in hospitals where electric beds are too expensive to be invested in. Dr. Willis Gatch was not just an innovator in post-operative rest: he also pioneered the use of anesthesia during operations.
Electric hospital beds are essentially Gatch-style beds that are able to be controlled by the patient using a remote control. In most developed countries, electric beds have replaced traditional Gatch beds in long-term stay wards. For obvious reasons, people who are bed bound in hospitals are usually unable to manually adjust a bed using springs and levers. The incorporation of electrical controls, therefore, was a grand leap forwards. These units are often known as ‘electric profiling beds’ and are a standard feature in modern hospitals.
Treatment couches are a sort of hybrid bed/chair used by doctors during examinations and operations. They are able to be adjusted in a great many ways in order to better facilitate medical treatment. Most modern treatment couches have an electric motor and a remote control unit.
Fluidized Air Beds
When patients are bed bound for a long period of time, they can develop bed sores – which may lead to dangerous infections. The fluidized air bed was developed specifically to reduce the chances of this happening. They individually distribute the patient’s weight over the mattress and can be ventilated using an air blower.