News & Events

The perfect bed

June 21, 2017

Everyone knows what a difference a good bed can make. But a purpose built bed that lowers to the floor so you can move on and off safely, can be a life-changing experience for some people and that’s exactly what has happened at Liscombe House, OCAV’s aged care facility.

Five residents are now happily settled into their electric beds, thanks to a $17,100 grant from the Aged Person’s Welfare Foundation.

The beds are vital for residents with particular needs because they reduce the chance of a person falling when they are getting in, or out of their bed – a common problem with traditional height beds.

One in three older Australians falls each year, often with serious consequences including disability and even death. The rate of falls for older people living in aged care facilities – who are less physically able than those living in the community – is even higher.  In the past year for example, the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria had 274 falls among the 81 residents (the average age is 80) living in the high and low aged care facilities at Liscombe House.

Apart from the safety features, the beds, which are wider than the average model bed, provide greater comfort to residents, many of whom experience chronic pain.  One new bed occupant, Glenda Clift (pictured), can vouch for the comfort of the new beds. Glenda, who suffers a great deal from post-polio pain, said the bed is wonderful.

“I love the bed and am so glad I got it,” she said. Glenda said she is also sleeping better in her new bed. Her daughter, Sharon, said the bed had given her mother some relief from her pain. The beds have easily adjustable height and positioning that allows for a raised head, knee, ankle or leg, depending on the resident’s needs at any time.

Shaaron Robilliard Director of Nursing and Quality Manager at Liscombe House, said the beds provided a range of safety features for residents and staff as well.

“Beds have a side bar to stop residents from rolling out as they just give enough resistance for them to feel. The sides of the bed are better protected and this reduces the pressure on skin and the likelihood of skin tearing. The staff also like the beds because there is one brake bar to lock and unlock all wheels and they find the bed very smooth to move across the floor. These beds also mean we don’t need to use a crash mat by the bed, which is a falls risk for staff,” Shaaron said.

The beds, if maintained, could last for 20 years. They cost less than other similar models to maintain because the power boxes are not under the bed where they can get knocked when staff are using lifting equipment.

“Working in aged care you get to see first hand the sometimes rapid decline in a person’s health after a fall. We want to do all we can to reduce falls risks and to make our residents as comfortable as possible. We are hoping to be able to purchase more of these beds in the future,” Shaaron said.

“We would like more electric beds and the next ones we hope to purchase will be equipped with a special alarm safety system which emits an alarm and turns a light on under the bed if a resident does try to get out of bed. These alarms make the beds are even more expensive than the five new ones purchased this year.”

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