Protecting residents and patients from pressure sores is an important goal - but one that often entails a great deal of stress and a heavy responsibility for nursing staff in everyday life. Modern alternating pressure systems instead of conventional mattresses can greatly relieve the burden on everyone involved. Since this year, Stiegelmeyer has been working together with the renowned supplier Novacare from Bad Dürkheim in the Rhineland-Palatinate region of Germany. Models such as the APM 440 XC intensive care system or the Smartline Hybrid dynamic mattress can be ideally combined with Stiegelmeyer beds in hospitals and nursing homes. We spoke with Sales Manager and co-shareholder Christoph Mardo from Novacare about the many advantages.
Mr. Mardo, why is an alternating pressure system often superior to a normal anti-decubitus mattress?
An active alternating pressure system ensures that the blood flow to the tissue is actually guaranteed during the set decompression periods. This is not the case with soft positioning on a mattress. Here, more frequent repositioning of the patient by skilled personnel is necessary. The active system therefore relieves the nursing staff. In addition, it promotes mobility.
How can an alternating pressure system support mobility?
This is particularly important in geriatric care. Young people turn over 60 to 80 times at night. Older residents with weaker muscles find this much more difficult. If they then sink deeply and softly into a viscoelastic mattress, their movement is inhibited even more. An alternating pressure system makes movements while lying down much easier. And if the resident or patient wants to leave the bed, the system can be fully inflated with the help of the Caremode function and makes it easier to get up with a firm surface. Caremode is also helpful during nursing care, e.g. when the patient has to be turned.
What makes Novacare stand out as a provider of alternating pressure systems?
Our strengths are our product quality and the associated durability. Our products are low-maintenance and technically very well positioned. We are almost the only supplier that works with metal compressors and durable polyurethane membranes in the unit, which really promise a long service life. We subject many components to extensive long-term tests. Our products are so robust that nothing happens if they fall to the floor. Added to this is a very moderate price-performance ratio. On the market of alternating pressure systems, especially in hospitals, there are many very expensive products, but you also find offers at the lower end of the price scale, which then often do not last long. We offer high-quality products at a reasonable price.
What advantages do your systems offer in everyday life?
After almost 30 years in the company, I can say with conviction that the operation of our products is extremely simple and the noise level is very low. Just 20 years ago there were often loud humming devices hanging by the bed, but today you can hardly hear our products at all. They are electronically controlled and work with an automatic switch-off – similar to a car engine that switches off at a red traffic light. Our motors also only work when they are needed.
What role did your products play at the beginning of the Covid pandemic, when many patients had to be ventilated in hospital?
We have felt that the demand has increased, especially abroad. At the same time, there were suddenly many requests for systems for a prone position of the patients – this was rarely an issue in the years before. We then adapted the APM 440 XC model, which Stiegelmeyer now also offers, and prepared it for a prone position with head fixation.
How does the cooperation between Novacare and Stiegelmeyer work if maintenance, repair or reprocessing of a system becomes necessary?
In these first months, I expect that there will hardly be any service cases. But if there are, Novacare is ready as a partner and will take over all tasks. In the longer term, there will be a transfer of expertise so that Stiegelmeyer can take over the service for the alternating pressure systems.
What aspects need to be taken into account when it comes to hygiene?
On this subject, the specialist hygienists often ask many questions at the beginning, which are of course already clearly answered in the instructions for use. As a rule, there are two possibilities: internal reprocessing on site, which is usually done by wipe disinfection or automated reprocessing with appropriate washing additives, or reprocessing at the manufacturer's or distributor's premises. In the latter case, a complex reprocessing of all components is carried out. This is documented with a certificate, then the system is returned to the customer. Of course, we can also offer this service in cooperation with Stiegelmeyer.
Tell us something else about your company.
Novacare was founded in 1992 to develop products for pressure ulcer treatment. I have been there since 1993. At that time, we were a team of three or four people and started with soft positioning. Very quickly we realised that we also had to offer active therapy products. Because of my professional background, this subject is very close to my heart - I am originally a radio and television technician and can contribute very well because of my experience in electronics and mechanics. Today we are internationally positioned: For example, we produce foam and patient lifts in Germany, textiles in Turkey and control units in Taiwan.