The Comfort of the Hospital Bed
Patient comfort is one dimension in the design and operation of patient support systems which has so far received little attention. Evaluation of the effects of the physical properties of such equipment tends to be emphasised rather than the feelings of the occupant. The concept of comfort is examined and attention is drawn to the lack of comfort criteria. Com fort is viewed from the perspective of the whole person, and the objective of this paper is to stimulate an orientation in those involved in health care towards the dynamics of mind—body interaction. Mention is made of recent studies into related areas of comfort, such as chair seat comfort and passenger comfort, and it is suggested that some of the assessment techniques used in these studies might be modifiable and amenable to the hospital patient context. The results of the author’s own experience in adapting some of these methods to the assessment of patient comfort with the Low Air Loss Bed are described.
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