Thanks to The Des Moines Register, we learned of how some hospitals are preparing for emergencies that would require the evacuation of bed ridden patients. One relatively affordable system is the Evacusled from a company by the same name, a device that looks like an advanced patient restraint system from Guantanamo Bay, but in reality allows one person to move another by transforming the hospital bed into a hospital sled.
Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 brought the issue of hospital emergency preparedness to the forefront, with one key piece being patient evacuation, from natural disasters to terrorism attacks, say health officials in Iowa and companies who sell patient evacuation devices. According to the makers of Evacusled, the device was actually used to evacuate patients during Hurricane Katrina.
It has prompted Mercy, Iowa Health-Des Moines and Broadlawns Medical Center in the last several years to build their arsenals of emergency evacuation equipment that help safely move patients quicker and more comfortably, particularly down stairways. Federal funds have helped defray the cost for the expensive gear.
The equipment is a great improvement over other techniques of transporting patients, including wrapping patients in bedsheets or blankets and carrying or dragging them, hospital officials say.
Two dozen of the Evacusled devices were put into Mercy’s coronary care unit about a year ago, along with a few in Mercy Capitol’s rehabilitation unit, McGraw said.
She’d like to buy additional Evacusleds, including 40 that would be placed in other Mercy units where patients are bedridden. McGraw said each costs about $630.
It takes one person to deploy the Evacusled. While older methods like using backboards or sheets can also be used, McGraw said the patient can be harder to maneuver, with more workers needed to move larger patients.
McGraw said the hospitals also use a device called an Evacu-Trac. The Evacu-Trac looks like a deck chair and features a set of rubber tracks that help a person glide the patient down stairs for a smoother ride. It has a weight limit of 300 pounds. The cost for the machine itself is about $2,100.