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Chula’s “smart hospital beds” innovation can help prevent falls

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5G smart beds, a prototype innovation to prevent elderly patients from falls in both hospitals and homes was showcased jointly by Chula Engineering, True Group, and King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital and Thai Red Cross Society.

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 and Thai Red Cross Society have jointly created “smart hospital beds” to reduce the risk of accidents for the elderly, they said.

“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 fallen off,” Asst Prof Dr Gridsada Phanomchoeng, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Chulalongkorn University said while introducing the “smart beds”.

Chula’s “smart hospital beds” innovation can help prevent falls

“The keys to the smart beds are their 5G sensors monitoring patients’ movements 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.”

Gridsada, who heads 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 centre and mobile phones of doctors and nurses, so they can keep watch on patients’ movements and positions in real-time, and can provide immediate assistance if need be,” he said.

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.

Currently, the Smart Hospital Bed innovation is under the patent registration process with the Intellectual Property Institute. Chula Engineering and True Group are delivering these smart beds to King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital for field testing. In the future, they will be used in all hospital wards.

Published : April 27, 2021

By : THE NATION