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Smart mattress pilot project

digitalAngel is an integrated platform which uses use sensors and other smart measurement equipment to help carers track the status of patients. A pilot called the Smart Mattress Project was launched at the ZorgSpectrum care home, and has already proved to be a great success.

Patients often spend a large part of the day in bed. Especially in care homes. As a care provider, you naturally want to keep an eye on all your patients when they are in bed and make sure they change position regularly to avoid bedsores and other complaints. And to make sure they are actually still in bed. If you have a large number of patients in different wards, that can be a very labour-intensive process.

An smart mattress – that can tell you if and how a patient is lying on a bed – can therefore be a great help. Sensors in the mattresses send data to the digitalAngel platform, and this information is displayed on a dashboard so the caregiver can keep an eye on several patients at the same time. Naturally, the platform will also trigger an alert if certain thresholds or limits are reached, which can be individually set.

The ZorgSpectrum care home
The ZorgSpectrum care home is based in Nieuwegein, and has branches in the Nieuwegein-Houten-Vianen region. Jochem Ooijevaar is responsible for managing the project within ZorgSpectrum.

“New concepts and products are being developed for healthcare all the time, but you always have to ask yourself the question ‘what good would it do us?’,” explains Jochem. “We use small sensor post to register if somebody is stepping or falling out of the bed. These sensors register every movement and send an alert to the carers if something is wrong.”

Jochem says the system is extremely sensitive. “You will get an alert even if a pillow falls out of the bed, or the patient has just an arm or a leg sticking out.” And even though somebody has to go and check to make sure everything is okay, it is better to be safe than sorry. This also unnecessarily disrupts the client’s rest.”

Mattresses
According to Jochem, the smart mattresses is much more reliable and versatile. For example, a delay can be built in so somebody can go to the toilet at night time without triggering the alarm. If the patient is back in bed within the set time limit, the alarm doesn't go off, and the carer doesn't need to check to make sure everything is okay.

“This has got a very positive response from the staff. It reduces the number of false alarms, so when the alarm does go off they know something is wrong.” It is especially helpful for the night shift, according to Jochem. “It means they didn't have to come into action for false alarms.”

Smartphone or tablet
To the untrained eye, the smart mattresses look just like normal mattresses. The sensors are hidden inside and all the data is collected by a little white box. All the carers have to do is plug it in. The data is sent automatically to the digitalAngel platform, and then displayed on the dashboard on a smartphone or tablet using the special app.


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