Falls are the most common accidents involving the elderly and hospital beds, posing serious problems for their children and caregivers. This problem is especially serious in elderly patients with limited mobility who do not have caregivers at their bedside at all times. Chula Engineering, and King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Thai Red Cross Society, have now jointly created “smart hospital beds” to improve the quality of patients’ lives and reduce the risk of accidents for the elderly.
“Current hospital beds are pressure-pad type consisting of foam and spring, and can only sense the presence of the patients on the mattresses. The alarm only sounds after the patients have already fallen off”, Asst. Prof. Dr. Gridsada Phanomchoeng, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Chulalongkorn University talked about the “smart beds”. “The keys to the smart beds are their 5G sensors monitoring patients’ movement on the beds while trying to sit or get off the beds. Warning signals will sound, so caregivers can come to their aid right away.”
Asst. Prof. Dr. Gridsada, head of the research team elaborated that the smart beds are equipped with strain gauge sensors to monitor the pressure points and patients’ weight. These sensors would monitor the positions of the patients to determine if they are at risk of falling off. Light curtain sensors accurately and instantaneously monitor patients’ movements while headboard-positioning adjustment sensors monitor their gestures.
“All the sensors are connected and controlled by 5G technology. Processed data is sent to the cloud that is connected to the monitoring center and mobile phones of doctors and nurses, so they can keep watch of patients’ movements and positions in real-time, and can provide immediate assistance if need be.”
Asst. Prof. Dr. Grisada added that these devices were designed to be adaptable to a wide range of hospital beds. They are also easy to disassemble and install while being very affordable.