Solutions for the ICU in turbulent times
Stiegelmeyer presented at the Intensive Care Medicine Symposium in Bremen, Germany
The three-day "Symposium Intensivmedizin + Intensivpflege" attracted around 4,700 visitors and 187 exhibitors to Bremen, Germany, in mid-February. For Stiegelmeyer, the accompanying trade fair was a particularly important date with in-depth customer encounters. Tabea Lanzke, our marketing product manager for the hospital division, described her impressions to us.
What were the highlights of the fair for Stiegelmeyer?
For me it was exciting to meet our customers again face-to-face after three years of Covid. The visitors also confirmed how much they enjoyed exchanging ideas with colleagues again and listening to lectures. Some hospital departments had split up in such a way that they were able to enable many staff to attend the congress despite staff shortages.
What was there to see on the Stiegelmeyer stand?
A Sicuro tera and an Evario with scales, i.e. two beds for intensive care. Many visitors knew our Evario from their daily hospital routine. They were very satisfied with it and praised the support provided by the bed. However, it also became clear that in view of the nursing shortage, people are thinking about how modern aids and innovative technologies can compensate even more for the lack of staff. The lateral tilting capability of the Sicuro tera therefore attracted a great deal of interest. It facilitates nursing care tasks and promotes ergonomic work. The bed was placed in a tilted position on the stand the whole time, and we demonstrated the tilt again and again via the control panel or the foot switch. The visitors were also allowed to slip into the patient role themselves and be tilted.
How did they feel about it?
Good up to a tilt of around 10°, fearful thereafter. This is also the limit for ICU patients. When patients are sedated, the lateral tilt can be extended as required. The head and foot end safety sides prevent the patient from "falling out".
What else is important to customers in an ICU bed?
Being able to attach a lot of medical accessories – and having the accessories move along when the backrest is raised or when the mattress base is adjusted in height. This is the only way to ensure that nothing tears off, that there are no collisions and that secretions can drain off safely and do not suddenly flow "uphill". Both Sicuro tera and Evario offer attachment options along all sides of the bed. In this respect, Stiegelmeyer is very well positioned in the market – our customers also confirmed this at the fair.
So when it comes to ICU beds, Stiegelmeyer offers an excellent selection. What about matching mattresses?
Just as well. Mattresses are always an important topic in intensive care. Usually there is a standard foam mattress in the bed at first, but for prophylaxis or therapy the use of an active alternating pressure system often becomes necessary. Our Smartline Hybrid model is both in one: a full passive mattress and a modern active system. Therefore, there is no need to transfer the patient. The hybrid mattress is simply connected to the power and starts.
Why is the Smartline Hybrid so special as a passive mattress? Can't you just switch off a conventional alternating pressure system for a while?
Yes and no. You can also put a normal alternating pressure system into static mode. The air cells then inflate. This mode is suitable for short care activities or out-of-bed mobilisation. The patient does not sink in as much and can be turned better from one side to the other, for example. The resistance is lower. But – the contact pressure becomes higher, so this setting should only be used for short-term activities.
And with the Smartline Hybrid?
In our hybrid mattress, the air cells are encased in a viscoelastic foam that supports the patient's own mobility and provides pressure re-distribution and relief. This is particularly pleasant when the patient wakes up after surgery: he or she then feels comfortable and safe on the noiseless static hybrid mattress. With an active alternating pressure mattress, it feels a little like floating on the ocean in a rubber boat when there are waves. This can be a disadvantage especially for cognitively impaired people or patients in the recovery phase. In addition, the Smartline Hybrid is surrounded by a frame of foam that is harder than the foam in the middle. This edge zone reinforcement provides a lot of support when sitting on the edge of the bed and supports the important mobilisation of the patient. With a conventional system, the air cells extend to the edge, and when the patient sits on them, there can be a risk of them slipping away. I invited nursing staff in Bremen to lie on the Smartline Hybrid mattress themselves – many would have liked to use the mattress immediately at home.
When you look at reports on the situation of hospitals in Germany and other countries nowadays, there is a lot of talk about staff shortages and uncertainty about restructuring. What was the mood like in Bremen?
The conversations with the visitors unfortunately confirmed the media reports. Many nursing staff from Germany told us that wards are closed in their hospitals or that even ICUs are merged due to a lack of staff – and then the number of staff is still not sufficient to run at full bed capacity. It was also impossible to miss how many exhibitors wanted to recruit staff at the fair. Employers from Munich in the south of Germany were looking for staff in Bremen which is located in the country's north about 760 km away. As manufacturers, this experience has once again motivated us to look for solutions that at least provide support and relief in this situation. I think it is important that industry and users remain in dialogue with each other. "Solution-oriented" is an important value of the Stiegelmeyer Group that we bring to life every day.