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Bathing/Lifts Forward thinking It might not seem like the best time to invest in capital expenditures, but new bathing and lifting equipment could be well worth the cost in the long run By Julie E. Williamson return on investment. Given the current economic Even better news? Various fea- climate, many skilled nursing tures are far more cost-effective operators have become increas- than one might expect and, in ingly focused on streamlining some cases, can help facilities get operational efficiencies and tight- more mileage from their existing ening the belt on capital equip- equipment. ment spending. While such an approach is cer- Moving beyond basics tainly understandable—and often Facilities looking to build upon prudent—there are times when bathing system basics will find an factoring in equipment improve- array of features and accessories ments into the budget can pay off available to help them customize with big dividends. the equipment and meet the vary- Bathing and lift systems are ing needs and preferences of their two prime examples. These days, residents and staff. it’s not just about being able to Adjustable height tubs, which perform the basic task at hand but reduce back strain in staff and cre- also about making the bathing ate a more comfortable resident or lifting experience safer and transfer, are one option that has more enjoyable—for residents become increasingly popular in and staff—while maximizing recent years. available resources. Meeting those “In the past, tubs were made Photo: Apollo Bath goals isn’t just a good move from very high off the ground so as an operational and risk manage- not to strain the caregiver’s back ment perspective; it’s also becom- while bathing [the resident]. The ing increasingly important on the problem with this was the resident Newer bathing equipment may serve to enhance resident and caregiver safety. regulatory front. had to be lifted very high in the air That is especially important because of new regulations. One bill, H.R. 2381, which is on the lifter to get into the tub,” currently in committee, calls for explains Kari Harbaugh, associate possible to start the bathing supply of water is ready and wait- an occupational safety and health product manager of Milwaukee, process even before the resident ing for the next resident. Because standard geared toward safe patient WI-based Direct Supply. “It was is ready. They can significantly Apollo’s bathing systems are handling and injury prevention of a scary experience for residents. reduce the time spent waiting for modular in design, the Rapid Fill patients and caregivers. These tubs often went unused the tub to fill. reservoir option, which generally “With efforts such as this, both in the facilities shortly after they “Once the resident is in the tub, sells for under $3,900, can easily caregivers and staff can be assured arrived. With many recumbent temperature-controlled water in be added at a later date. that procedures will be in place tubs now, customers are able to the reservoir fills the tub in about “If a facility is on a tighter bud- [to enhance] both their comfort order it with a height-adjustable 90 seconds. Other tubs without get, it may make sense to start with and safety,” says Scott Maurus, option, allowing the tub to be reservoirs can take 10 minutes a basic air spa bathing system and product manager for ArjoHunt- in a low position for a transfer, or more to fill. These long waits then build from there as budgets leigh of Addison, IL. then raised to a safe working waste staff time and make resi- [allow],” Anderson said. But if More than ever, equipment height once the resident is safely dents uncomfortable, and pos- a facility bathes a large number manufacturers are offering a slew inside.” sibly, combative,” notes David of residents per day—10 to 15 of standard features and add-on Modern bathing systems also Anderson, product manager, per shift or so—then the reser- accessories that can meet those are being built with added effi- Apollo Bath of Somerset, WI. voir could offer a rapid return safety requirements while also ciency in mind. Rapid-fill, heated The reservoir automatically on investment, he added, noting driving added value and a rapid reservoirs, for example, make it refills during a bath, so a fresh “especially if a facility has low 70 www.mcknights.com • September 2009 [ ] water pressure and has to wait a only for much less [money].” long time for the tub to fill for Levindale is also looking at each resident.”
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