24. March 2020
// Articles & Reports

"We are happy if our patients feel comfortable"

At Gütersloh Hospital, the Vertica clinic mobilisation bed supports people in the palliative care unit

The employees in the palliative care unit of the Gütersloh Hospital look after people who suffer from an incurable, advanced disease. "We adapt to the individual needs of our patients," says Evelyn Braune, Medical Director of the palliative care unit. "Our goal is to maintain the highest possible quality of life, dignity and self-determination for the patient." In order to achieve this goal even better, the hospital purchased two mobilisation beds of the type Vertica clinic as well as matching bedside cabinets from Stiegelmeyer for the palliative care unit in autumn 2019, financed by donations.

The Vertica clinic enables nursing staff to gently move patients into an upright sitting position at the touch of a button. This ergonomically beneficial position goes far beyond the possibilities of standard hospital beds. Besides the sitting position, the bed can also be brought into a comfortable stand-up position.

We talked to Hildegard Schulze-Beckendorf, the nursing director of the palliative care unit, about her work and the use of the two Vertica beds so far.

Mrs. Schulze Beckendorf, how long have you been working in the palliative unit?

I have been here in Gütersloh for two and a half years now. Before that I worked for years in an internistic department with an integrated palliative care unit.

How many rooms does the palliative care unit in Gütersloh have?

We have eight beds available here. These are divided into three double rooms and two single rooms. Sometimes we could use an extra Vertica bed. However, there are times when we do not have patients who can benefit from the special features of the Vertica.

How did you hear about the Vertica clinic model?

Through our in-house technician Mr. Möller, who among other things carries out bed repairs here in our hospital but is also involved in new purchases. He recommended this bed to us when we were looking for a bed or a special care chair that would help us to better mobilise patients. We were looking for something with which, for example, we could also bring paraplegic patients into a real sitting position. If you use a special chair for this, you first have to get the patients out of bed. Sometimes this is not that easy – not even for the patients. Mr. Möller told us that Stiegelmeyer has a bed that can be moved into a sitting position and even into a stand-up position. Stiegelmeyer provided us with a Vertica clinic for testing and we were very satisfied. 

Was the sitting position the decisive factor or is the stand-up position also interesting for you?

Above all the sitting position is very important for us. We are a small palliative care unit and treat patients with a high symptom burden. These are, for example, COPD patients who suffer from shortness of breath and have already slept sitting in an armchair at home. Of course, they benefit greatly from this bed. With most other beds, the head can be raised, but the feet remain straight. And this proper sitting in the Vertica clinic is simply good for the patients.
In addition, the Vertica can also be used for patients who are difficult to mobilise due to illness. Our paraplegic patients, who, for example, suffer from paralysis due to metastasis extending into the spinal cord, can be brought into a sitting position and thus regain better spatial orientation. They can also eat much better. Conversations at eye level also work better in a sitting position and are perceived as very pleasant. We can also easily move our patients with this bed to the balcony so that they can enjoy the beautiful weather, especially in summer.

And the stand-up position?

It is of use to us when patients who have been lying down for a long time want to stand up. It just makes you feel safe to have the bed behind you. For those patients whose blood pressure drops when they sit up, regular use of the sitting position is helpful so that the circulation is stabilised a little more. From the sitting position, we have then brought the bed into the stand-up position occasionally.

How do the patients react to the bed?

Patients who can use these positions already consider it comfortable – especially when stressful and strenuous activities such as mobilising the patient out of bed are no longer necessary. Mobilisation can now be carried out easily with the bed. Patients save their strength and can sit up longer.

How did the nursing staff get used to working with the Vertica clinic?

Of course, we needed a little training time. You have to learn about the Vertica and its functions. But in the meantime, we wouldn't want to miss these beds. We are happy if our patients feel comfortable.

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