As I have stated, some of these ideas appear to be “Jules Verne” in nature, however I believe that they will one day be a part of every hospital, nursing home and hospice.
When I am thinking about how hospital care can be improved, I think about my days as a patient in the critical care department of a hospital. I think about my thoughts at the time and I then think about ways to correct the concerns I was thinking. This is one such correction. I still remember, years later, the “butt chewing” I endured from my nurse after I tried to go to the bathroom without her help.
When capable patients have to eliminate (and/or bathe) , they can have the ability, although bed bound, to accomplish these bathroom duties without the help of a caregiver.
Health-care providers will see the incidence of CAUTI (catheter associated urinary tract infections) go down if these facilities are developed and routinely used.
There will be tracks in the ceiling of each room (One end would be at the ceiling of the patient’s bed and the other end of this stainless steel track would cross the bathroom stool ceiling and end in the bathrooms’ bathtub ceiling.) with a stainless steel “children’s swingset” seat customized with retractable stainless steel harnesses to keep the patients on these seats. We are all aware of the harnesses that retract after roller coaster rides. Perhaps this system would work well here also. This system would differ from roller coaster harnesses in that the harness would have to retract from both the front and rear sides of the patients. Sensors in each harness would limit the “travel” of each harness to prevent their placement around the patients in an adverse manner. Perhaps the harnesses could consist of two stainless steel “bars”. When the chair is resting below the hospital ceiling, the bars would be at rest above the seat. After the patient slides onto this seat, the patient would press the control button to move these bars down to rest at mid-femoral and mid-lumbar regions. This should provide enough stability for patient safety.
Simple patient controls would be on the beds and just above one leg of the seat. UP-DOWN-BACKWARD- FORWARD -NURSE ALARM -HARNESS FORWARD- HARNESS RETRACT and other simple commands would be present. These controls would be battery operated and waterproof and easily sterilizable. The controls would have a safety feature that would prevent this seat from moving above a specified distance from the floor while the patient is on this seat. The caregiver would be able to over-ride this feature to place the seat at resting level after the patient has gone home.
Capable patients would command the unit to come to the patient’s bedside and lower the seat to bedside level. The patient slides forward to be placed on the seat, commands the harness to surround (or partially surrounds) his body and proceeds to the bathroom for elimination duties and/or bathing. After these duties are accomplished, the commands would begin again. Toyota motor company’s ” Advanced parking guidance system” software could perhaps be used to “fine tune” the placement of this chair at the patient’s bedside, toilet and bathtub to provide ease of use and safety.
Perhaps this system would free up the nurses for other duties. Perhaps this idea will help correct shortfalls in nursing care due to adverse nurses ratios due to budget cuts and nursing shortages. Perhaps this idea may help reduce the incidence of patient falls while in the hospital. Perhaps paraplegic patients may find this idea valuable while in the hospital or at home. Perhaps this idea will not work. There would have to be informed consent forms signed before using this system and would be available only after approval of the hospitalist in charge of the patient. If the system is in use, a nurse’s station light will alert the caregiver of this use.