Monthly Archives: January 2010

How to Buy A Hospital Bed for Your Home

When most people think of a hospital bed, they imagine the bulky, white, convoluted contraption often found in hospital rooms. However, hospital beds don’t have a set definition, and come in many shapes, sizes and types for clinical and in-home settings. If you are in a position to purchase a hospital bed for the home, but you are not sure where to start, the following information can help you to find the right hospital bed to suit you, but also to ensure that you and your patient will be able to use the medical bed safely and efficiently.

Invacare Hospital Beds

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) note that about 2.5 million hospital beds are in use today. The CDRH regulates hospital beds as medical devices, as many can be quite complex. As a result, hospital beds are often available through a prescription only, which may dictate what type of hospital bed you will purchase. Hospital beds are different from regular beds because they help healthcare providers, including family members, carry out a number of medical-related functions. Hospital beds can:

  • Recline and incline to help patients get upright to take medications or eat with little to no use of their own body strength, or to simply get more comfortable.
  • Elevate to keep healthcare providers from constantly bending and stooping to provide care.
  • Include railings to keep patients from rolling out and incurring injury.
  • Offer support with trapeze fixtures and other items to help the patient pull themselves up.

Hospital beds can also accommodate a wide variety of other functions, depending on the needs of the patient and their condition.
With all of the benefits of a hospital bed also come specific risks. Some of the risks of owning and/or misusing a hospital bed include:

  • Patient entrapment or entanglement in a hospital bed itself or fixtures attached to it. While not a common occurrence, it can lead to injury, strangulation or even death, and usually effects confused or disoriented elderly patients.
  • Fires started in or around medical beds due to electrical wiring, clutter or lack of maintenance.
  • Injury from misuse of the hospital bed and/or its parts.

Entrapment, fire and injury from hospital beds are often easily avoided. Some tips for mitigating these risks include the following:
Preventing Entrapment

  • Only use hospital beds and equipment that are meant for that purpose. You cannot just use any sheets or bed rails on hospital beds, as this can increase the risk for entrapment.
  • Become familiar with the common “entrapment zones” of a hospital bed:
    1. Within the rail.
    2. The space around the rail, including under the rail, between rail supports, at the ends of the rail or next to a single rail support.
    3. Between the rail and mattress.
    4. Between split rails.
    5. The space between the rail and the footboard or headboard, including the flat surface and edges of each board.
  • Take precautionary measures to eliminate entrapment zones by using proper equipment that fit the size and type of hospital bed.
  • Monitor patients in hospital beds on a regular basis.

Preventing Fires

  • Inspect wires and cords attached to and near the hospital bed for signs of wear such as fraying or strained wires.
  • Avoid connecting the hospital bed’s power cord to a multi-strip power outlet or an extension cord.
  • Keep the bed motor clean by keeping floors and surfaces free from dust, lint, dirt and debris.
  • Keep the hospital bed’s control panel clean and covered to avoid infiltration of liquids or condensation due to moist atmospheres (such as those created by humidifiers).
  • Check the hospital bed and related electrical equipment for signs of overheating or physical damage.
  • Avoid hanging or draping clothes and linens near power outlets.

Preventing Other Injuries

  • Be cautious around motors and items with moving parts.
  • Ensure that each component fits together properly, including:
    1. Bed frame
    2. Mattress
    3. Rails
    4. Other accessories
  • Do not allow patients to climb over or around rails when getting in or out of bed.

Once you’ve become familiar with the basic safety measures for using a hospital bed, you can spend some time thoughtfully choosing the right bed for you. Though hospital beds are often prescribed, there are still a number of specifications to choose from. Different types of hospital beds can be generally categorized in three ways:

  • Full-electric Hospital Beds: These medical hospital beds enable the patient to lower the head and foot section simultaneously or separately with the use of a single hand control. These are the hospital beds most commonly found in clinical facilities. They are the most expensive type of hospital bed, but also the most convenient.
  • Invacare Bariatric Mattress

The Invacare Bariatric Hospital Bed is one of the higher-end examples of a fully electric bed. When purchased in a package, this bed features a foam mattress, steel frame, matching bed rails, 750 lb capacity and up to a 29 inch maximum elevated height. Perfect for accommodating high turnover in professional environments, this bed provides for the comfort and convenience of both the patient and the caregiver.

  • Semi-electric Hospital Beds: A semi-electric hospital bed features some electric assistance in addition to a hand crank to raise and lower different sections of the bed. Semi-electric hospital beds have a mid-level price range.

The Invacare Semi-Electric Bed is an example of this type of hospital bed. Invacare has two Semi-Electric Hospital Beds–the Semi-Electric Bed and the Semi-Electric Value Care Bed. A single crank at the foot of the bed allows a caregiver to raise or lower the patient while they are still in bed, and the compact motor system provides assistance to limit strain.

  • Manual Hospital Beds: A manual hospital bed raises and lowers by hand crank alone. These are typically the most affordable kind of hospital bed, though not significantly more so than a semi-electric bed.

Like the semi-electric bed, the Invacare Manual Bed features a single crank at the footboard to raise and lower the head and foot of the bed, and interchangeable headboards for maximum usability and storage. The Invacare Manual Bed can be purchased for less than $500.

 

 

Resources:
U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Hospital Bed Safety
 

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SOLO2 Transportable Oxygen Concentrator vs. Oxygen Tanks

For many, oxygen therapy is a vital component to getting through each day. Whether a person suffers from low levels of oxygen in the blood or is grappling with a chronic respiratory disease, oxygen therapy gives relief and hope to people who would otherwise suffer from shortness of breath, heart strain, lack of energy and general discomfort.

Some common applications for oxygen therapy include:Oxygen Therapy for an Independent Life

  • Hypoexima: Any condition that prevents the blood from getting enough oxygen can be said to cause hypoexima. This is a common cause for home oxygen therapy as it is the most direct and effective method of treatment.
  • COPD: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the name for a group of lung diseases that prohibit the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs. This can include diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, both of which make the heart pump harder in order to distribute oxygen to the rest of the body.
  • Interstitial Lung Disease: When a condition causes scarring in the longs, it is said to have contributed to interstitial lung disease. Though oxygen therapy cannot reverse scarring in the lungs, it can make it easier for the patient to breath.

For these conditions, oxygen therapy can provide a number of benefits:Choosing the Oxygen Therapy Devices

  • Facilitates breathing.
  • Introduces more oxygen to the lungs.
  • Enables exercise and other activities.
  • Eases sleeping disorders caused by breathing issues.
  • Improves heart function.
  • Helps to prevent pulmonary hypertension.
  • Relief from depression.
  • Enables clearer thinking.
  • Replaces carbon monoxide in the blood.
  • Inhibits bacteria growth in damaged cells.

Whether oxygen is used 12 hours or 24 hours per day, a constant, reliable supply of oxygen is at the cornerstone of effective oxygen therapy plan.

Decades ago, the oxygen cylinder was the “go-to” solution for portable oxygen therapy. At the time, it was a huge step toward an improved quality of life for those living with oxygen therapy, because it allowed people to leave healthcare facilities and their homes to lead a more active and normal life. This created a greater sense of independence for oxygen therapy patients and opened the market up for improvements to the field.Invacare SOLO2 Oxygen Concentrator Recently, a company named Invacare released its latest oxygen concentrator development named the SOLO2 Transportable Oxygen Concentrator. This portable oxygen therapy device may revolutionize in-home oxygen therapy. Many may question which is better? Traditional oxygen tanks or the new SOLO2 Portable Oxygen Concentrator? In considering this question, there are many things to consider, such as:

  • Size
  • Ease of Use
  • Convenience
  • Effectiveness
  • Cost

A general analysis of the traditional oxygen tank and the SOLO2 using the criteria above is contrasted below:

Traditional Oxygen Tanks

Size: The traditional oxygen tank is made from aluminum or a similar lightweight, and sits upright in a small metal dolly that is made specifically for that purpose, or carried in a shoulder bag. The tanks are full of concentrated oxygen and require the use of an oxygen regulator, which is a separate piece, as well. This is set to monitor the flow of oxygen, which is then supplied to the user through small nasal tubes or similar means.

Ease of Use: The traditional oxygen tank is generally easy to use. One only needs to be strong and nimble enough to replace tanks and set the regulator to the appropriate airflow.

Convenience: The traditional oxygen tank is relatively inconvenient. It requires multiple parts to use and transport, and the size and shape of the tank can make it cumbersome for travel. Likewise, many airlines will not allow oxygen tanks without prior preparatory measures, if at all. This is due in part to their explosive properties. Doctor’s notes are almost always advised, and some countries may also require the assistance of consulates in order to facilitate smooth travel. If traveling for long periods of time, pre-orders, automatic shipping or similar arrangements may also be required to ensure that the supply of oxygen is not interrupted.

Effectiveness: The traditional oxygen tank is effective at a basic level because it supplies a regulated stream of oxygen. However, in some cases, small puffs of oxygen are all that is needed rather than continuous streams, so that treatments may not be optimized or oxygen may simply be wasted.

Cost: The traditional oxygen tank is one of the lowest cost methods of oxygen treatment for its level of effectiveness.

SOLO2 Portable Oxygen Concentrator Size: The SOLO2 is the made of heavy duty plastic and about the size of a carry-on suitcase. It has compact plastic wheels that make it easy to maneuver and tuck away when transporting.

Ease of Use: The Invacare SOLO2 features a push-button digital display that is simple to operate. Users can adjust the flow of oxygen within a five-setting range, and can either opt for a continuous flow or a pulse dose, all with the push of a button.

Convenience: The SOLO2 has a light, compact, unobtrusive shape that easily travels to any location, from down the street to down under. Since the unit does not carry an oxygen tank, it is expected to gain approval from the Federal Aviation Agency as an air transportable oxygen concentrator, as similar models before it have done. Likewise, the lack of an oxygen tank means that extra ordering or shipping arrangements don’t need to be arranged for extended trips. The battery operation also offers the convenience of wireless operation for completely uninterrupted use, regardless of environmental conditions.

Effectiveness: The SOLO2 is effective for a wide variety of oxygen therapy applications. With its accurate flow settings and optional pulse mode, it gives the right amount of oxygen in a continuous or pulse stream, depending on the health care provider’s indications.

Cost: With its optimum design and self-sufficient operation, this unit can cost several thousand dollars. However, its one-time cost and lack of extra ordering, shipping and material costs can position it as a sound investment over time.

Oxygen therapy is only as good as the materials and equipment used to administer it. Keep these points in mind when trying to decide which oxygen therapy provider you should use during your treatment.

Resources:

Merck Online Medical Library – Oxygen Therapy

Livestrong – What Are the Benefits of Oxygen Therapy?

Impotence Buyers Guide

Treating Impotence

Impotence is a sensitive topic for men and women, however it affects a relatively significant portion of the population. In men, impotence is characterized as the inability to achieve and sustain an erection that is suitable for sexual intercourse. In women, it is characterized by an inability to become aroused. If either of these conditions occurs more than 50% of the time, a person is considered to be suffering from a disorder. In men, this disorder is called erectile dysfunction (ED) and in women it is referred to as female sexual dysfunction (FSD).

There are many reasons why a person may suffer from a sexual disorder. In men, the ability to develop and sustain an erection relies on three basic factors:

  • Properly functioning nerves in the penis.
  • Adequate blood circulation in the penis.
  • Stimulus from the brain.

If any of these three factors are not present, impotence may occur in men. In women, sexual function requires:

  • General physical health.
  • Lack of inhibitive psychological conditions.

There are external factors that can interfere with men’s and women’s ability to perform sexually. These factors can include:

  • Obesity
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and kidney disease
  • Fluctuations in hormones
  • Psychological conditions such as depression, stress or anxiety
  • Smoking, drinking or using recreational drugs
  • Lack of exercise

Though some age groups may experience sexual dysfunction more frequently than others, it is not considered normal at any age. In men, approximately 5% of 40-year olds experience sexual dysfunction, while 15-25% of men ages 65 and older are affected. Over all ages, 42% of women are affected by sexual dysfunction, in part as a result of the wide variety of causes that can bring it about.

Sexual dysfunction does not have to inhibit a person’s ability to enjoy sex. There are many impotence products available to help both men and women become and sustain arousal throughout sexual intercourse. Vacuum therapy has become an effective and regularly prescribed method for men and women to help themselves overcome varying levels of sexual dysfunction.

Vacuum Erection Devices (VED): A vacuum erection device, also known as a penis pump, helps to bring a man to erection by creating a negative pressure around the penis. This helps to encourage blood circulation in the penis, thereby making it erect. Since the method for achieving an erection is natural, penis pumps do not typically require a prescription for use. Vacuum erection devices have the added benefit of being a non-invasive procedure, requiring no introduction of chemicals into the body and no surgery and therefore no known harmful side effects.

There are two basic types of penis pumps: manual and electric. Both devices employ a long, cylindrical tube in which to place the penis. Manual devices use a hand pump to create a vacuum while electronic devices use a small, battery-operating motor to do so.Timm Osbon ErecAid System

The Timm Osbon line of penis pumps has been recognized for their effectiveness and quality of construction. Its ErecAid Classic manually operated device features patented pressure-point tension rings and specially formulated lubricant, both of which have proven to be effective in stimulating erections in 90% of users.

The Timm Osbon ErecAid Esteem is a battery-operated device employing the same features as the manual devices and delivers the same level of effectiveness, but operates compactly with the aid of a small motor. The ErecAid Esteem model costs a bit more than the manual version, however it is often prescribed due to its ease and speed of use.

Medication: Hormone therapy, injections, suppositories and oral medications have become popular methods of counteracting impotency and erectile dysfunction. Each method provides different benefits and risks depending on the condition of the patient, and should only be used according to direction. The type and duration of an erection can differ from method to method, with some lasting for 30 minutes while others last for hours. While medications are most often prescribed to males, researchers have been experimenting with the use of the same types of medications to help females overcome sexual dysfunction as well.

Treating Impotence

Counseling: Sex therapy can be a more natural, internal way for men and women to seek relief from sexual dysfunction. Sex therapy is intended to be a short-term type of counseling, consisting of 5-20 sessions with a sex therapist. Sessions usually take place once per week for about an hour, and cover a variety of topics, such as:

  • Literature and media about sex and sexuality.
  • Learning exercises around touching that are pleasurable but take the pressure off of performance.
  • Practicing ways to improve communication around sex.
  • Sex therapy is effective for men and women who are able to become aroused naturally, but feel inhibited or experience psychological interference such as stress or anxiety. It works best with couples where both members are participating.

Lifestyle Changes: Sometimes, all that is needed to treat sexual dysfunction is to improve an individual’s lifestyle. Having a healthy body and mind is one of the basic premises of having a healthy sex life, and some of the following steps can help a person to achieve both:

  • Quit Smoking – If you smoke, talk to your doctor about gradual yet, effective ways to quit for good.
  • Regular Exercise –: Regular exercise is good for the entire body as it burns fat, improves sleep, builds energy, strengthens the heart and builds muscle. All of these things can improve overall health and effectively minimize sexual dysfunction.
  • Reduce Stress – Stress takes a toll on the body and the mind which, in turn, can lead to sexual dysfunction. Find ways to unwind and strike a balance in your life by staying healthy and keeping a good attitude.

Resources:
WebMDWhat Is Erectile Dysfunction?
WebMEDFemale Sexual Dysfunction