Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust is to replace nearly all beds at North Devon District Hospital and the community hospitals with state-of-the-art electronic versions that can be adjusted at the touch of a button.
All old solid-framed beds and mattresses will be disposed of and new versions brought in under a £1m deal with top manufacturers Hill Rom.
The Trust is already working to upgrade its electrics ready for installation in April/May.
A total of 415 standard electronic beds will go into North Devon District Hospital and at the community hospitals in Torrington, South Molton, Bideford, Ilfracombe and Holsworthy. A further 25 specialist beds and cots are also on order, along with special extensions for tall people.
Each bed can easily be adjusted up or down, and angled so patients can raise their feet or sit up and read, for example.
As well as being more comfortable, the beds enable patients to alter their position without having to call a nurse and offer improved safety, with rails to reduce the risk of falling out.
They will also reduce the risk of injury to staff when transferring patients and adjusting the beds.
Although the Trust has some electronic beds, the newer models will offer the same advantages to all. Standardisation will also reduce the cost of maintenance.
The upgrade means electronic beds bought over the years by Leagues of Friends at the Trust’s community hospitals will no longer be needed. These have served patients well, but pre-date the advances embodied in the new versions and would not be covered by the main maintenance contract.
Carolyn Mills, the Trust’s Director of Nursing, said: “This is a fantastic advance, which means we’ll have state-of-the-art beds for everyone. It’s easy to take beds for granted in hospitals, but they’re fundamental to patients’ comfort and to the working conditions of staff.
“We’re very grateful to the Leagues of Friends who have helped us with beds in the community hospitals over the years – many people have benefited as a result. Now we’ll be looking to see if we can find good homes for the beds when the new generation arrives.”