One of the most overlooked items in medical facilities is the condition of the pads on their stretchers. Stretcher pad replacement is easy and relatively inexpensive. There are many advantages to replacing your stretcher pads, including decreased risks for fluid intrusion that could result in infection, increased patient comfort and support, and an overall increase in patient safety.
Stretcher pads come in a wide array of styles, thicknesses and upgrades which all have unique advantages. Standard pads are usually sufficient for surgery centers that do not have patients on the stretchers for long periods of time.
We recently spoke to Tim Sitorius, sales manager at Birkova Products. Birkova Products is an industry leader in replacement stretcher pads, as well as surgery table pads and general operating table accessories. Birkova has been in business for over 12 years, with replacement pads as their cornerstone products.
Below is an excerpt from our conversation with Tim:
[Venture:] What are some of the advantages of the higher end stretcher pads?
[Tim:] More Durability, Greater Reduction of Pressure Points, and Longer Lasting are all key advantages of the upgraded pads we offer.
[Venture:] What are some of the clinical risks of using low grade stretcher pads?
[Tim:] Greater Risk of Bottoming out, Pressure Points, and Properties break down sooner so you have to replace the stretcher pads sooner.
[Venture:] How does Birkova’s standard stretcher pad set stack up to the competitors?
[Tim:] We have a known longevity with our replacement pads. We offer the Waterfall Seams (helps prevents fluid intrusion) on all of our replacement pads. The standard of quality is exceptionally high and we are very budget friendly.
[Venture:] Recovering vs. replacement? Is this a valid option for budget sensitive customers?
[Tim:] Replacement is definitely preferred for infection control reasons. The way our pads are manufactured, we don’t offer recovering as an option. We can do some recovering and have done it in the past, but it is usually on a case by case basis and we have the product sent in for our team to complete the project.
[Venture:] If the stretcher pads become torn and worn, how can this effect patient safety?
[Tim:] It is an infection control issue if the pad is torn or ripped. If the pad is worn down it won’t offer the same support; which can create pressure ulcers. Also if the pad is torn or worn it is against medical standards for patient safety.
[Venture:] Are there any new advancements that have recently been introduced concerning stretcher replacement pads, or any on the horizon?
[Tim:] We have a 4-Way stretch cover with extra strength backing for our standard pads, we feel this will bring the level of the standard up in the marketplace.
[Venture:] How long has Birkova been manufacturing pads?
[Tim:] Replacement pads is the core of our business, it is what we are experts at. The business started 20 years ago in NJ and was operated under a different name for 8 years, it was then moved to NE for central location logistics and we have been in this area for 12 years now. So, we have 20 years of experience in the replacement pad industry.
[Venture:] Even if the pad still looks OK, is there a reason to replace it after a pre-described period of time? Does the material inside the pad lose any rigidity or density over time?
[Tim:] Our recommended time frame to replace the pads is every two years. Unless of course it has rips, tears or is visibly worn down. In that case, you should replace them right away. Like all materials, our pads do start to break down in their properties over time.
The bottom line is that replacing your old and worn stretcher pads is an easy and important step to decrease liability and increase patient safety and comfort. If your pads are torn, cracking, or are old, NOW is the time to consider replacing them. Venture Medical can provide you with a wide variety of sizes and types of replacement pads for your stretchers. This includes even hard to find pads such as those for specialty stretchers, i.e., C-Arm stretchers, eye stretchers and stretcher chairs. Custom pads can also be ordered when needed. Your risk manager will also probably try and give you a hug.