Doernbecher Physician Designs New Critical Care Crib

05/07/01    Portland, Ore.

Crib provides comfort and ease of care, and is being used in hospitals around the globe

Hospitals around the country and as far away as Europe and Australia are using a new critical care crib designed by a doctor at Doernbecher Children's Hospital of Oregon Health & Science University. Brahm Goldstein, M.D., director of medical services and former medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Doernbecher, designed the crib for critically ill infants and toddlers; the crib allows older infants and toddlers to rest more comfortably than conventional cribs and provides nurses and physicians significant ease in caring for their young patients.

"Regular hospital cribs are fine for kids who just need to sleep, but we had nothing for critically ill children who have a lot of special needs as a result of being in an ICU environment," said Goldstein. "The cribs are infinitely more user-friendly for all hospital staff, and the ease of caring for children is significantly better as well."

All four side rails can be easily lifted, giving physicians and nurses 360-degree access to their patients. The mattress electronically adjusts to a variety of positions for the patient's head and feet, and includes a temperature control. A built-in scale, WeighSafe, is more convenient and safer than moving the patient; children can be weighed without the risk of dislodging IV pumps, tubing and other electronic monitors. The crib has wheels and multiple attachments for ventilators, monitors and tubes, so the equipment stays in place when the patients are moved within the hospital.

The cribs are painted white with colored dots and are not only easier to clean, but have a more cheerful "kid-friendly" look to them.

The genesis for the crib began several years ago when Goldstein experienced recurring back pain as he bent over cribs attending to children. "I thought, 'Why doesn't someone create a better bed for Pediatric ICU use.' Then I said, 'Wait a minute, I can do that.'"

Goldstein began by listing the best features of neonatal ICU and adult ICU beds, along with the special pediatric ICU needs for older infants and toddlers. A few days and a few computer sketches later, he had a diagram for the new crib, which he sent off to a company only to wait six months for a rejection notice. Undaunted, he then sent the design to HARD Manufacturing in Buffalo, N.Y., the leading hospital crib manufacturer in the United States. HARD's president loved the idea and flew Goldstein to Buffalo to view a mock up. Doernbecher staff critiqued a prototype during a two-month trial run, and HARD used the feedback to fine-tune a version that launched on the market in February 1999.

Staff and parents are extremely pleased with the six cribs in Doernbecher's PICU, and more are on the way. "We really do like them," said Greg Sabin, R.N., department director for Doernbecher's PICU. "You can get to a baby on all four sides of the crib, which is vital when working with a critically ill patient."

A smaller version of the crib for newborns needing cardiac surgery is being tested at Doernbecher. HARD continues to update and modify the current crib.

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