Cone Health elevates bed, mattress maintenance to higher priority

Aug. 24, 2022

The staff at Cone Health simply wasn’t satisfied with the quality of their bed and mattress maintenance efforts and outcomes so they decided to do the rational thing.

Rather than punt, procrastinate or postpone, they formed a multidisciplinary task force to evaluate the issue and devise actionable solutions.

James B. Waddell, BLS, ICRA, CSCMP, SW Patient Care Support Manager, Nursing Administration, Cone Health, who also serves as Capital Service Line Chair, IT Administrator, and Unit-Based Fit Tester for the healthcare system, notes their “Clean Bed Initiative” (CBI) really dove into the deep end of practices and protocols to make a difference.

“Our process made incredible improvements because of the Clean Bed Initiative,” he said. “Data was collected regarding flow and all touchpoints of bed movement. The data collected in combination with the created standard work improved cleanliness and created a safer environment for patients and caregivers.”

Waddell shared some additional perspective with Healthcare Purchasing News.

HPN: How did the Clean Bed Initiative originate?

WADDELL: During staff meetings of our Patient Transport Department, staff expressed concern over cleanliness of hospital beds being transported from nursing units to ancillary departments. The Clean Bed Initiative started in 2018 at our flagship campus and expanded to all hospitals in 2019. Due to the extensive work of the project, adjustments have been minimal and still in place today.  

Who came up with the concept?

The conversations during staff meeting prompted the Patient Transport Manager to seek guidance from the Clinical Nurse Specialist. Once the initial research started it was quickly identified that there were gaps in our process that needed attention. The name of the project – Clean Bed Initiative – came during collaborative discussions with clinical and non-clinical staff.     

How did you determine the composition of the group?

The composition of the group was determined during the data collection phase. Our process improvement team literally followed beds from origin to destination and took notes. Following observations, the team sent out surveys to receive additional feedback from frontline staff. The group consisted of Nursing, Patient Transport, Environmental Service, Bed Repair Technicians, Portable Equipment and Imaging Services.   

How challenging or “easy” is it to establish and operate a CBI?

Once all key stakeholders were identified, that enabled the team to setup weekly meetings to evaluate and talk through processes. The largest challenge was standardizing the work across multiple hospitals, in addition to not creating additional work for our already extremely busy frontline staff. During the discovery phase it was determined that each hospital had similar processes; however, there were some differences based on workflow. Once an agreed ‘standard work’ was written, the process was trialed for several weeks, evaluated and eventually rolled out across the enterprise. The biggest win was establishing a multidisciplinary team to create an understanding of how our work impacts each other. The most important factor is that this work was a win for the patient and staff by creating a cleaner and safer environment.       

All told, Waddell says his team is very proud of this initiative. “It is a great success story and embodies how collaboration between multidisciplinary teams can impact and improve outcomes,” he added.