Our nation’s heroes deserve the best. That’s why VA continues to enhance, expand and make improvements when and where possible.

Jack C. Montgomery VA recently completed a full replacement of all inpatient beds after listening to the concerns of Veterans and staff regarding the comfort and safety of those staying at the facility.

Ross Foote, chief of Inpatient Nursing, says patient safety and satisfaction are top priorities at the Eastern Oklahoma VA. When inpatient services started receiving complaints about the previous beds, they knew something had to be done.

The patient beds were new, but Veterans were already showing comfort to be a concern and staff soon noticed as well and began to report safety issues with the equipment.

“The beds we had were just not sufficient to meet the needs of our Veterans,” Foote said. “Veterans complained the beds were uncomfortable and some even chose to sleep in a chair instead. We also had multiple reports from staff about potential safety issues, such as inaccuracy of the weighing feature. This caused concerns related to weight-based medications. The footboards of every bed also had to be replaced. The software installed would not communicate to the rest of the bed, causing the alarms to not work correctly. Poor design and faulty equipment soon resulted in an increase in falls at our facility.”

Increase in falls with previous beds

Nurse Kandis Frentzel prepares newly acquired hospital bed.

By listening to the needs of Veterans and staff, the medical center was soon able to replace the equipment and provide patients with the health care experience they deserve.

New beds began to arrive. They were replaced in waves and as the new equipment was installed, positive feedback increased.

Remarkable features of new beds

“The new beds have created a safer, more comfortable environment for our Veterans,” Foote added. “All of our beds are now equipped with low air loss mattresses, Watchcare technology, an Early Warning Indicator system, enhanced visual lighting and an integrated data collection system. The lights and data collection features of the beds are such a benefit for staff. There are lights installed at the end of each bed that project on the floor to give the staff quick visual aids.”

Watchcare technology notifies staff when a Veteran has accumulated any kind of moisture between themselves and the bed. This allows staff to address the issue and prevent skin irritation more promptly.

The Early Warning Indicator System senses breathing and heart rate. The bed can sense potential change in status and notifies staff immediately.

Decrease in bed-related discomfort with new beds

The beds also collect data such as the presence of moisture and the duration it is detected. The data is utilized by the Wound Care Department to improve and enhance care.

Another useful tool is the bed exit alarm which will automatically reactivate to ensure staff do not forget to turn it back on. This feature decreases the potential of Veteran falls and possibility of injuries.

Full replacement of the beds was completed last summer. Since replacement, there has been a significant decrease in bed-related discomfort and safety concerns. There has also been an increase in patient satisfaction.

Pictured above, next to a new bed, are Ross Foote, chief of Inpatient Nursing; Sobra Boone, RN; Mariah Lindsey, nursing assistant; Stephanie Palmer, nursing assistant; Carol Thompson, RN; Kandis Frentzel, RN; Jaime Trevino, RN; and Mallarie Roberts, LPN.

Through teamwork and vigilance, staff at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center were able to makes changes to improve patient experience.

This is just one example of how VA continues to modernize by using technology to improve the care of Veterans and provide world-class customer service.

Tiffani Mathews is a public affairs specialist at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Muskogee, OK.

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Published on Jul. 9, 2021

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One Comment

  1. David Berry July 20, 2021 at 3:50 pm

    I’m willing to bet those beds are fit for 6’ and shorter patients. I’m 6’4” and I bet the floorboards are going to make comfort miserable for me

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