Super single vs single beds - why size does matter

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A lot of residents moving from the community into aged care facilities will be used to sleeping in a Queen or King sized bed – so the prospect of a single bed isn’t very appealing.

Aside from comfort and familiarity, there are important clinical reasons why a growing number of aged care providers in New Zealand are now opting for super single beds wherever possible.

The bock Practico bed range is the most popular aged care bed in New Zealand, and the extra 200mm width provided by their super single model can make a big difference to fall safety, pressure injury risk, ease of transfers and daily cares.

Ashley Currie, who leads Cubro’s Business Development in Aged Care, says it’s extremely hard for a larger person to turn or roll over on a single mattress. “It’s quite a small lying surface so if they do a traditional roll onto their side, they end up quite close to the edge of the bed which puts them at risk of falling out. A Super single bed does provide extra reassurance that they’re going to be safe.”

In fact, a US study found the risk of an elderly person falling out of bed reduced from 51% to 36% simply by increasing the width of their mattress from a single to a super single. “If you have someone who is a high falls risk resident, the extra width can definitely help them,” Ashley confirms.

The move away from side rails, along with the adoption of restraint minimisation standards and policies among aged care providers, means having a wider mattress is an additional safety measure.

The bock Practico super single bed has a mattress compensation function (which their single bed doesn’t have), meaning when the head of the bed is raised, it moves back slightly so people don’t slide down the mattress and suffer friction or shear injuries as a result. The lying surface is also divided into four sections including a knee break. Trendelenburg (feet higher) and Reverse Trendelenburg (head higher) are also functions that can be used to manage pain, prevent pressure injuries and treat respiratory conditions and oedema.

With the technology built into the bed “At the single push of a button, the resident can get into a comfortable upright seated position using the backrest, the knee break and tilting the bed simultaneously without creating a whole lot of pressure through their sacrum,” Ashley says. “This puts them at less risk with regards to pressure care over against the traditional way of raising the backrest, which creates shear, friction and concentrated pressure through the sacrum”.

A wider bed can also provide greater independence, giving people more confidence to reposition in the bed on their own without fear of falling.

From a caregiver’s point of view, a super single bed offers many advantages. “If you’ve got extra width in the bed, you can easily roll and turn someone on top of the mattress. But if they’re in a single bed and they’ve got no space, they need to be rolled and spun, on the spot so caregivers often need to use slide sheets and things. There’s a lot more process involved in rolling someone on the spot than there is just rolling someone over.”

Super single beds do cost about 25% more than bock’s standard single range. Ashley says the wide range of benefits make it a worthwhile investment.

“The bock Practico is our most popular selling bed in the aged care industry in New Zealand. It’s very reliable, stable, well-built, German made, and has got a lot of good features. It can go ultra-low (down to 250mm) but then it also goes right up to 800mm, which is an excellent travel range. Taller caregivers can perform cares without having to bend over.”

Central breaking is another advantage that bock has over its competitors, meaning all four brakes can be activated at once without having to push each individual wheel.

“Another great feature of the Practico range is the slimline end boards – it’s a really nice, homely looking bed and it doesn’t look clinical.”

For more information about bock Practico’s super single beds, get in touch with your Account Manager.