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ICU Beds VS Normal Hospital Beds: Specifications & Features

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ICU Beds VS Normal Hospital Beds: Specifications & Features

ICU beds are used on intensive care units. These specialist units provide treatment and care for people who are seriously ill. This specialist equipment is uncommon on other hospital wards. But beds are needed all throughout hospitals. So, how do ICU beds differ from standard hospital beds used on wards? This article looks at the features and specifications of ICU beds and compares them to other hospital beds.


ICU Bed Specifications


Technically, any bed used in an intensive care unit would be classed as an ICU bed. The name refers to where a bed is used within a hospital rather than a specific type of bed.


There are three requirements for ICU beds:


Must be electric – can be operated using a handset or control panel rather requiring medical staff to reposition the bed manually.

Must offer cardiac chair and Trendelenburg positioning functions – these positions facilitate respiration and circulation to aid bodily function. Read more about the Trendelenburg position and why it's used.

Can accommodate a pressure-relieving mattress – foam or replacement air mattresses are used for pressure relief. ICU beds must have appropriate dimensions to fit these mattresses.


Trendelenburg Position

4 Important Features for ICU Beds

By avoiding a long and detailed list of requirements for ICU beds, NHS Trusts can assess which beds best meet patient and staff needs when placing an order.


But there are several features and functions that prove important in a critical care setting. As such, most ICU beds will also include the following four features:

CPR release

Most intensive care doctors and nurses would consider CPR release as an essential for ICU beds.


This function allows medical teams to flatten the bed platform at the push of a button or lever. In an emergency, this quickly creates the flat, hard surface needed to perform CPR.


IV poles with hooks

IV poles are used to securely hang fluids or medications that a patient needs to have administered via a drip. They typically have 2 or 4 hooks which can each support a fluid container.


Having an IV pole with multiple hooks is beneficial in ICUs where patients will often require multiple medications at once.


Choosing an ICU bed with an IV pole included makes it easier to move a patient in an emergency. Rather than having to wheel both the bed and the IV pole, medical staff only have to focus on moving one piece of equipment. This reduces the risk of injury or damage to the IV supply.


Removable head and footboards

Beds with removable head and footboards, which lock safely into place when in use, are often preferred in ICUs.


There are two key benefits to this design:


In an emergency scenario, removing the headboard allows medical staff to stand behind the patient. This frees up more space to work around the patient and provides easier access to the head to support breathing.

It's easier to perform prone positioning. This procedure involves rotating a patient from lying face up to face down.

Prone positioning (turning a patient to lie on their front) is much easier on an ICU bed specified to have removable head/footboards

Intermittent prone positioning has been shown to improve external respiration and improve/prevent acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in critical care patients.


Nurse Controls

Electric hospital beds can have several different options for controls. Some have a patient handset or patient controls built into the side rail. Others have a nurse control handset or nursing controls built into the base of the footboard. Often, there will be a combination of controls available on a single bed.


For ICU beds, having built-in nurse controls offers several benefits:


Nursing controls can lock functions on any patient handsets. This will protect a vulnerable patient who cannot operate the bed themselves from accidents.

There are no trailing wires which can cause a trip hazard when staff are rushing to assist during an emergency.

There's no risk of controls getting lost. ICUs are busy places. If staff need the bed to perform a function, they can activate it immediately without having to locate a handset.

Bed accessories, such as weighing scales, can be incorporated. This helps to monitor the weight of patients who are too unwell to sit or stand to be weighed.

Nurse controls at the foot of the bed is a feature which makes ICU beds easier to operate in an emergency

If you want to buy ICU beds now, Maidesite can recommend one type for you.

Maidesite 5 Functons ICU Bed