by Linda Friedel | Reprinted courtesy of KC Nursing News
Area nurses had a chance to test safety equipment at an all-day vendor conference in Overland Park. Universal Hospital Services (UHS) – Heartland Division sponsored “Showcasing solutions for fall management, early mobility, wound care and patient and staff safety” on June 7 at the Doubletree Hotel in Overland Park. The conference featured speakers and the latest in hospital safety equipment. Hands-on testing gives providers a better understanding than reading up on its usage, said Beth Jordan, RN, BSN, patient care coordinator at UHS. The conference targeted nurse leaders, management staff, risk management, wound care nurses, physical therapists and staff members on falls committees, but it was open to any health-care provider, Jordan said.
“It’s a small sampling of what we have,” Jordan said. “Everyone who attended was highly engaged. We encouraged people to get on the equipment. It really was fun. I represented every piece of equipment.”
DeRecia Wade, RN, critical care educator, and Rose Russell, RN, educator, both of Menorah Medical Center, attended the conference solely to test out the equipment. Demonstrations ranged from bariatric and wound care to toileting equipment, including a bariatric bed with an overhead trapeze, low-air-loss mattress for wound care prevention, a bariatric stretch chair, a lift seat and enclosure bed with fall mats.
“It’s nice that we are able to go see pieces of equipment,” Wade said. “Technology changes rapidly. We have to go seek and see what’s out there.”
Wade said she is not a decision-maker for hospital equipment, but she and Russell passed their findings to the rehabilitation department and administrator who is responsible for new products. Wade and Russell spent their time climbing on and off equipment.
“That’s the nice thing about going to something like this,” Wade said. “You can touch and feel. It has to be a benefit to the patient. The easier it is to use the more beneficial to the patient.”
Wade said she was impressed with the total lift bed for its ability to aid in rehabilitation. The bed lifts to nearly a vertical angle. It lifts strapped-in patients to a standing position where physical therapists can work them on range-of-motion exercises. It has a built-in sensor that reads out weight-bearing percentages. The sensor takes the guesswork out of it, she said. It allows patients to progress safely, evaluating them at the same time. Wade said the bed will help patients physically and psychologically.
“It’s more objective,” Wade said. “I hadn’t seen anything like that until we went to the event. I think it would have a much greater psychological affect on the patient – looking at them eye to eye. It takes on a whole different relationship.”
Another mattress monitors patients lying in bed, alerting nurses to turn them. A sensor glows red indicating the part of tissue that is not being profused. A blue light indicates that it’s all good, Wade said.
“So we get pressure off soft tissue areas,” Wade said. “It takes the guesswork out of it.
This was for wound care — preventative wound care.”
The conference offered two presentations: “The Science Behind Falls MGMT” by HD Nursing president Gary Platzman; and “Early Mobility” by Jamie Duley, physical therapist, of Minneapolis. The concept of early mobility is relatively new, endorsed by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) and is starting to be put into practice nationwide, Jordan said.
“What I see is great collaboration between nursing and rehab services to achieve early mobility,” she said.
A movable bedside commode was one the newest pieces of equipment the conference provided for viewing. There are lots of falls that occur around toileting, Jordan said. The bedside commode helps to prevent patient falls, benefiting staff members as well, she said.
“Fifty percent of falls occurs around toileting,” Jordan said. “This is a nice solution. Nurses end up with injuries assisting on and off the toilet. It can reduce the number of injuries (among) staffing.”
UHS provides multiple services and 50 different types of equipment for fall management such as IV pumps, heating pads, ventilators and movable medical equipment. Jordan rounds at area hospitals where she trains nursing staff and patients on equipment use. Hospitals typically rent the equipment, she said. Jordan helps to manage the equipment.
“We really provide the tools needed to reduce staff injuries and patient falls,” she said. “We provide lifts that can support the staff in what they do every day.”
Jordan’s background includes critical care, emergency services, education and safety. She rounds in area hospitals three times a week, checking in on units that are using patient safety equipment. Jordan’s focus is on patient handling.
“My role is to support the staff that are utilizing equipment,” she said. “I round with patients. I’m out in hospitals rounding. My goal is to insure that the equipment is being used optimally. At the same time I’ll educate the staff one to one.”
Many of UHS’s equipment solutions are centered around “never events,” Jordan said. Never events refer to patient incidents such as pressure ulcers, falls or catheter urinary tract infections (CAUTI) which should never occur. Hospitals are not reimbursed for never events, she said.
“We really are focused on those things that save hospitals thousands of dollars,” she said.
Jordan says she can help with the hoarding factor, as well. Nurses notoriously hoard equipment. She knows because she used to do it, she said. Instead of purchasing hundreds of IV pumps, for example, which get dirty, broken or lost, health-care facilities can consider renting with built-in management.
“We come in and we mange that equipment,” she said. “We can drop the equipment or re-allocate it. It saves them time at the bedside and not have to worry about that.”
Jordan says she also addresses safe patient handling. Times have changed and so has health-care technology, she said. Other industries such as construction have had safety in mind when it comes to heavy lifting. It’s human nature to jump in and help a patient, but that action has a price she said.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Jordan said. “Other industries have had the tools for heavy lifting for years. We just always thought this is what we do. We didn’t have the kind of equipment we have today. Nurse are hard workers. They tend to put themselves into their work.”
Connie Pippin, RN, BSN, clinical solutions specialist with UHS, attended the conference to demonstrate equipment and talk about fall management and wound care.
“I demonstrated silhouette wound imaging and documentation system as well as some of the other products,” Pippin said. “We had great interest in our fall management program as well as silhouette and total lift bed.”
In her role with UHS, Pippin says she focuses on falls, caregiver safety and pressure ulcers. She says her background in nursing equipped her for her current position as clinical solutions specialist. She covers a six-state area and says her clinical background has given her a distinct advantage. She was formerly in critical care, dermatology and outpatient management before she switched to medical devices. Her years of working in hospital settings, collaborating with physicians and clinicians laid a foundation for working with hospital health care leaders today.
“I have a lot for experience working with hospitals firsthand,” she said. “I have experience on both sides of the fence — from the medical vendor side as well as from the hospital side.”