“Beyond your hospital bed”

Posted: March 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

    I dreamed about my latest idea last night.
    Rising diagonally from the head of this futuristic hospital bed is a molded metal or fiberglass arm which ends in a three feet high by three feet wide square molded fiberglass LCD or LED flatscreen computer monitor several feet above the bed at feet level- tilted towards the patient.  The screen of this computer monitor may have to be covered by an unbreakable plexiglass shield.
    Inside this arm are the control lines for this computer monitor.  The arm would be freely swivable -up and down, left to right. Such mobility is available-we all know about the robots in automobile manufacturing plants. These robots contain arms that automatically perform movable tasks dozens of times a day. Perhaps the arms could swivel the flatscreen computer monitors under the hospital beds for storage.
    At the head of the futuristic hospital bed is a computer USB port and the female mono audio adapters for the ear bud extensions or under the pillow speaker wire port.
    An internet capable laptop computer at the head of the patient’s bed then controls the music which is downloaded and the idyllic scenery which is seen or even the television and movies which can be watched on this computer monitor suspended above the patient’s bed. 

     Because I am a veterinarian, I am not active in human medicine. Perhaps the following patient monitoring adaption is already in use.  Using the laptop computers at bedside, the patient’s medical system parameters could be transferred to the nurse’s station and software could be designed to make the system work well. Software could be designed to allow the hospitalist to also monitor critical patients via his/her I-phone. The medical system parameters could be transferred to the bedside laptop computer and subsequently transferred to the nurses station and physician’s I-phone.

      A miniature computer keyboard attached to a miniature swivel arm similar to the arm which is used with the computer LED monitor could be attached to the bed’s patient guard rail. This keyboard could be used to control the laptop computer, including sending text messages to the nurse’s station if help is needed. Software could be devised to warn the nurses at their station that urgent or non urgent help is needed by the patients. The patients could type out their request to the nurse or any key could be pressed for longer than two seconds, which sounds an emergency alarm. This keyboard system could replace the buzzer system that may be used.

       Perhaps the staff of the manufacturers of the existing hospital beds can retrofit them to accept the over the bed computer monitors, monitor arms, computer laptop control ports and ear bud or under the pillow (PILLOWSONIC tm.) speaker ports.
      Research has proven that distraction therapy decreases the amount of opiates needed for analgesia in some patients by up to fifty percent.
Since hospital management charges the patients the same fee for opiate use, regardless of dosage, the cost of retrofitting these beds will eventually be recovered.
        I know that there are other benefits to this therapy as well, I just have not read about them. I do know that I would like to see this feature available to anyone who wants to use it. It would sure be nice to be able to listen to your choice of music  while you are viewing your choice of pastoral image in front of you- easily viewable at several angles in front of you- on any day, at any hour of the day or night.  Personal digital photos can be downloaded into this over the bed computer screen for viewing while bed-bound.

     There are many possibilities available if  computer monitors are readily accessible.  Performances, celebrity hospital visits, family gatherings can be recorded and family pets can be taken to the sidewalk outside the hospital reception area and can  then be immediately viewed by the patient (through these over the bed computer monitors) . We all know how prevalent and inexpensive internet computer cameras are. These images are immediately downloaded into the patient bedside laptop computer for viewing by the patients. If the patient then wants to keep the image in front of him/her for a period of time, the nurse in charge of the patient can “freeze” this computer image.  Some patients cannot leave their hospital beds for some period of time.

     The very young patients’ parents could be interviewed to determine the young patient’s favorite fantasy hero. The hospital staff would then play the prerecorded, customized DVD to the young patient- giving him/her the message that ”  Hello  Amy (or other pre-recorded customized patient name) : This is “Snow White” (or other pre-recorded fantasy creature ) in the “land of fantasy”.  “Grumpy” told me that you are hospitalized here in Sioux Valley Hospital (the hospital’s name).   All of us here in the land of fantasy want you to know that we will be thinking of you while you are sick, you are very special to all of us and we all want you to get better as soon as possible. Please remember that all of us in the land of fantasy will be thinking of you”.  Perhaps, a local professional theatre group would be willing to do the voice overs for the various fantasy creatures and Super Heros  along with the customized names- i.e. Amy, Laura, Carrie, Brittany, Daniel, Thomas, Ben etc.  for these pre-recorded DVD’s or CD’s.

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Comments
  1. duanewyatt says:

    Hello everyone:
    I saw this article on CNN.com today: (perhaps this new type of hospital bed would decrease the incidence of post hospital PTSD)

    Question from a patient:

    Could I have PTSD from a hospital stay?

    I recently had a terrible experience in the hospital. After surgery, while I was still mostly under and groggy, someone came and pulled the tube out of my mouth rather roughly then inserted another tube without ever speaking one word. This trauma has left me with a rather large problem: I do not eat solid food anymore. I know that this is all in my head, but I cannot overcome this. I am on antidepressant med and have seen a throat specialist. Can anyone help?

    Mental Health Expert
    Dr. Charles Raison
    Psychiatrist,
    Emory University Medical School
    Expert answer
    I am sorry to hear of your situation. Unfortunately, your story is all too common. We now know that many people develop post-traumatic stress disorder from their experiences in the hospital. While everybody’s story is a little different, the general theme of emerging from the modern medical environment with PTSD is an under-recognized risk of being very ill and/or undergoing serious medical or surgical procedures.

    In fact, I have heard of stories like yours. I treated a patient once who had a somewhat related problem. He was a very successful musician who pulled into a parking lot one day with the intent of sampling something sweet at a local ice cream parlor. He was standing in line when suddenly a mighty blow came crashing on his head from behind. Then he was suddenly lifted high in the air and thrown against the glass ice cream case. Unable to see what was going on, he crashed to the floor and began to be kicked. Finally, in the midst of this process, he was able to turn around. At that moment he was sure he had lost his mind and he was sure he was going to die, because he saw a giant man delivering these blows. He was taller than any human could possibly be. The man was cursing and screaming at him. Then, as quickly as it had started, it was over, and the giant stormed off.

    As it turned out, my patient had been attacked by a very famous basketball player who was upset over personal problems and had mistakenly thought the patient had flipped him off in the parking lot as they vied for a parking spot.

    My patient developed many classic symptoms of PTSD. He felt ashamed and helpless and enraged. He had nightmares and couldn’t work. He felt emasculated and ruminated constantly on some type of revenge. But the symptom that caused him the most practical problems was becoming unable to drink anything from a glass. He would become terrified as he brought a glass to his lips. This symptom did nothing but humiliate him further.

    Like you, he was on an antidepressant, which helped in general but didn’t touch his fear of drinking from a glass. To eradicate this problem a therapeutic intervention was required. First, he needed to understand why he had this particular symptom. I pointed out the first terrifying thing that had happened to him during the attack was that he was thrown against the glass of the ice cream case, which might explain his fear of anything made of glass approaching his face. While he had not thought of this, it immediately struck him as true and he found some relief in this.

    You are one step ahead of the game, because you understand the genesis of your swallowing problem. Like my patient, you were violated in a moment of utter vulnerability in a way that provided no warning. This is a classic recipe for the development of PTSD symptoms.

    But knowledge alone was not enough for my patient, so I’m not surprised it is not enough to liberate you from your symptom either. What my patient needed, and what you need, is a behavioral approach that allows for breaking the big problem into smaller manageable pieces that can be conquered one at a time. In my patient’s case I hit upon the idea of him carrying a straw in his pocket to use whenever it was necessary to drink from a glass. He found the straw gave him enough distance from the glass to tolerate the experience (as well as an all-important sense of control), while at the same time bringing him close enough to the glass that over time he became more and more comfortable with the situation. In time, he was able to gradually set the straw aside and resume normal drinking behavior.

    Because I am not working with you directly, I cannot make specific therapeutic recommendations for developing a plan to help you conquer your fear of swallowing solid food. But I do have two important general suggestions. The first is that you set aside any embarrassment you may have over your problem. It is not unusual and it is nothing to feel awkward about. Rather, it is a challenge to be surmounted one step at a time. My second suggestion is that you make an appointment to see a psychotherapist who specializes in behavioral interventions for anxiety disorders. You might identify such a person by contacting whomever is prescribing your antidepressant. If he or she doesn’t know someone appropriate, contact your state’s chapter of the American Psychiatric Association or American Psychological Association for a referral.

    It is very important that you don’t wait any longer to get appropriate psychotherapeutic treatment for this very disabling and potentially medically threatening symptom. A good behaviorally oriented therapist will develop a plan for your recovery, and with its implementation you will likely be back to normal fairly quickly.

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