News Release

July 20, 2004

Contact: Jane Shaskan, 860-679-4777

Dempsey Hospital First in New England with Specialty Beds

Improving Patient Safety and Care Top Priority

FARMINGTON, CONN. – John Dempsey Hospital has received its first shipment of state-of-the-art hospital beds especially designed with patient safety and comfort in mind. As the first hospital in New England to use the VersaCare™ beds, the purchase underscores the Health Center’s commitment to patient safety and care.

“These beds are terrific,” said Shannon Rankin, R.N., nursing manager. “People just can’t say enough good things about them. Patients, nurses, doctors, even visitors love these beds.”

Prior to purchase and delivery, VersaCare™ representatives demonstrated its versatility and benefits. The beds were evaluated by a hospital-wide taskforce including Nicholas Noyes, director of clinical engineering at the Health Center, and staff from clinical nursing, housekeeping, and environmental health and safety. “These beds will help us deliver more effective and efficient care to our patients,” said Noyes. “Patient safety has become a hot issue nationwide, and it is our highest priority. Our goal is to be the safest hospital in the state.”

Caregivers benefit too, said Rankin. The bed’s unique air mattress includes a patient-turning feature to help position patients for examination or linen changes. The VersaCare™ also has a built in scale. “These features reduce the risk of back and other injuries for nurses, doctors and technicians who have to move and lift patients routinely,” said Rankin. “Repositioning will be easier for the patients too.”

The beds are manufactured by Hill-Rom, a global provider of patient care products, and features innovative ways to improve patient care and safety. Some of VersaCare’s™ other features include:

  • smaller side rail gaps and mattress design that helps reduce the risk of patient entrapment and meets recent national Hospital Bed Safety Workshop guidelines;
  • zones of continuous low air pressure in the mattress to help reduce the risk of skin ulcers, a common problem among patients who require longer hospital stays;
  • low height that allows patients to move easily in and out of bed and thus reduce falls;
  • bed-exit alarms that help reduce falls by alerting clinical staff should patients try to get out of bed without assistance;
  • night lights integrated into the bed;
  • automatic chair positioning, allowing patients to slide easily from the bed into a wheelchair;
  • a foot protection feature that keeps patients from sliding down in the bed and provides heel protection;
  • bed extension capabilities to accommodate taller patients.

“These new beds employ new technology to dramatically enhance the hospital’s fall prevention program and reduce the risk of back injury for our clinical staff,” said Noyes. They will be delivered in stages over the next few months for a total of 80 beds at about $8,000 each.

“They will offer a good night’s sleep in many ways,” said Noyes. “We can’t necessarily make a hospital stay fun, but we can make it more comfortable and most importantly, safer.”

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