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Fifth Wheel Facilitates Medical Bed Transport

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 28 Aug 2018
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Image: IndiGo makes light work of patient transport (Photo courtesy of Arjo).
Image: IndiGo makes light work of patient transport (Photo courtesy of Arjo).
Intuitive drive assist technology reduces ergonomic risk, supports user safety, and improves the ease and efficiency of transporting patients on medical beds.

The Arjo (Malmö, Sweden) IndiGo system is essentially a powered fifth wheel installed beneath the bed that is designed to assist the caregiver to move a hospital bed, using automatic slope detection to provide additional power when moving up slopes, and braking assistance when moving down slopes, while tolerating small positioning adjustments and sideways movements. Users activate IndiGo by lifting the brake pedal with their foot before pushing the bed. An intuitive user interface does away with complex additional equipment or controls, and requires minimal training to operate.

Features include responsive assistance that avoids disadvantages associated with traditional power drive systems; an intuitive 360º operation with no buttons, handles, or controls; automatic slope detection; a clear on/off indicator provides by a blue LED light that illuminates the floor on both sides of the bed when the drive wheel is active; a steering mode for easy maneuverability; and emergency stop buttons at the head and foot ends of the bed. IndiGo can be supplied factory-fitted to new Enterprise and Citadel beds, or retrofitted to select bed frames, including the Enterprise 9000X and Citadel Patient Care System.

“We put ourselves in the customers' shoes and tried to imagine what their dream product would be like. We realized that to truly make a difference in terms of convenience, efficiency, safety and ease of use, we would have to come up with a completely new product concept,” said Peter Lambord, senior medical beds product specialist at Arjo. “This led us to the idea of an integrated power assist that responds directly to user input, which became the basis for the IndiGo concept.”

Pushing a modern hospital bed with a patient in it can be a strenuous task, adding an extra ergonomic challenge to already overtaxed staff. Additional challenges may include narrow corridors, inclines, soft floorings, elevators, and long distances to triage between departments. Current assistive devices, including separate bed movers, can be impractical and difficult to operate.

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