Medical Equipment Blog

Home Traction Units Q & A

Friday, October 21, 2011

I am concerned about my patients correctly using home traction units. How can I monitor or test if the patient is using the specific model of traction device correctly?

One of the most effective ways to correct and teach patients about the use of home traction units is to provide them with the unit in the office or therapy room. The doctor or therapist can then walk the patient through setting up, adjusting and applying the traction correctly. The patient can ask questions and the medical professional can provide immediate feedback and tips for how to safely and correctly use the device. This is a great option even when changing devices since home traction units can have different operating procedures that the patient needs to know.

What options are available for lightweight traction units that are easy for home use?

For both lumbar and cervical home traction units portability, ease of use and minimal requirements for specialized additional equipment or supplies make these models very easy for home use. The cervical traction devices that require separate weights can include bags that are filled to volume levels with tap water or pre-set weight bags that are three to five pounds in weight. The water filled bag is very easy and lightweight to move as the contents can be dumped, leaving only the empty bag to transport.

Harnesses, neck rolls or door clamps and pulley systems are also very lightweight and highly portable. The more advanced types of home traction units for the cervical spine are also easy to use and very lightweight. They use air pressure that is controlled with a pump and a click in place device for accuracy when the traction force reaches the specified amount. There is also safety features such as blow off values built into these home use cervical traction devices that prevent too much pressure from being applied with incorrect reading of the gauge or incorrect operation of the device.

Are there lumbar home traction units available or are they all cervical traction devices?

There are models of both cervical traction units as well as home traction units that specifically target the lumbar area. Lumbar units tend to be larger in size than those that are just for cervical traction and they also have additional types of unique safety features. One of these features is a non-slip harness that allows the patient to set up the harness and belts once, ensuring that everything can be kept consistent to replicate the traction provided at a medical clinic or in a therapy program. The hand pump also allows patients to adjust the traction levels and then click into place, again providing added consistency throughout the use of the equipment. Lumbar treatment can include a maximum force of up to 200 pounds, which is considerably more than is generated at maximum levels with the cervical home traction units. These systems also have a quick release feature that allows the patient to very safely and instantly stop the traction force if there are any complications or difficulties at any time during the home session.

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Physical Therapy Tables Q & A

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How can I customize the physical therapy tables to match the colors in our therapy room?

Most physical therapy tables are designed to be neutral in color and design to be highly compatible with any therapy room colors and d├ęcor. Common colors include gray or cream tops with black, gray or other neutral tones of legs and frames. Other options include physical therapy tables that have customized upholstery. These are usually the exercise tables that are used for patient stretching and mobility training in transfers and movement in bed. These types of physical therapy tables can be color coordinated with your therapy room colors by special or custom order from the manufacturer.

Other considerations, especially for the larger central physical therapy tables is to choose a natural wood frame or base and a Formica or natural wood surface. This ensures that all colors will coordinate with the table while still providing a solid working surface that will last for years and stand up to all the wear and tear that is common in physical therapy areas.

What features are important to consider in selecting physical therapy tables?

Durability and strength in all types of therapy tables as well as those used for occupational therapy sessions are two very important considerations. The more secure the table is, including those that are used for patient exercises and stretching, the more secure the patient will feel. The ability to easily position the table as well as the number of different features offered by the table is a practical consideration for most therapists. Having equipment in a therapy room that can only be used for one purpose is often not efficient or practical, so tables that are easily used for a variety of different treatments are both cost and space saving in the long run.

Tables should also be designed to be comfortable for both the patient and the therapists, which includes how accessible they are for everyone.
What types of physical therapy tables are most therapists friendly and what options really help the therapist that sees a number of patients throughout the day in different parts of the hospital?

Most therapists in a hospital or medical care facility will have to see patients both in therapy rooms and clinics and also within individual patient rooms. Having a smaller, personal size of therapy table that provide a solid base of support for all types of hand and arm movements is very important. Typical bed side tables in hospital rooms will not provide the stability that physical therapy tables provide. With easily adjustable heights these types of tables are easy to push or move through hallways and corridors while also very easy to adjust to patients that are in chairs, wheelchairs or in bed for the therapy session.

Spring powered table tops are simple to move up and down to easily adjust. They can also be used to move supplies easily from room to room as needed for therapy sessions outside of the therapy center.

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Hand Therapy Tables Q & A

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I have seen therapy tables in a variety of shapes and styles. What are the pros and cons of each option?

Therapy tables come in a number of shapes and sizes. Square and rectangular tables in a various sizes provide a very stable work surface for individuals or small group activities. These therapy tables are also easy to configure in a therapy or patient area without difficulty.

Horseshoe shaped tables are great for allowing one therapist easy access to several patients at the same time. The therapist is positioned in the center of the horseshoe shape and can turn to work individually with all patients or address the group from a central location. Quarter round tables provide the same option, just for fewer patients at one time. Usually the horseshoe tables are suitable for use with up to 4 patients while quarter round tables are better suited to working with two patients.

How easy is it to position therapy tables for use with patients in wheelchairs or those that are using assisted mobility devices?

All therapy tables are designed to be practical for therapists and patients to use. This includes the option for adjusting the height of the table to meet the specific needs of the patient or the therapist. different table models and sizes offer different height adjustment options. The larger the table the more legs that it will have for security and stability, which will typically require a bit more to adjust the positioning. Generally these types of tables adjust with a hand control knob that is located on each leg. Adjustments are set at one inch intervals with preset holes for the inset of the knob to lock the table into position.

Even larger sized group actively work table that are often used as therapy tables may be adjusted using a crank. This allows easy adjustment with just a simple turn of the device, with the option to remove the crank after the table is correctly positioned. Some of the tables that are used for patient stretching and exercise can also be controlled with an electric motor and a foot or hand control for smooth, quick adjustment similar to a hi low table.

Are there therapy tables that can be used with patients that are standing as opposed to seated?

There are several different models of therapy tables that are designed to be used in positions from seated to standing. These tables may be on casters or with a solid base that still allows easy portability when needed. The tables adjust quickly with two simple levers found at the outside of the legs where they join to the underside of the table. Moving these spring powered levers up allows the table to be pushed down or slid up to the correct height. The table is also designed to provide stability if the patient or therapist applies weight to the top of the table.

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Common Questions about Tilt Tables

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What is the best option in a tilt table for use with patients that are recovering from long term bed rest?

Tilt tables are often used with patients that are recovering from long term illnesses when they have been immobile for long periods of time. The table can be used to allow them to become acclimated to an upright position without concerns with rapid changes in blood pressure that may cause dizziness and possible risks of falls. Since these tables can also be used to correctly position a patient for different types of examinations and tests, especially with patients that have limited or no ability to stand in an upright position they can be invaluable in all types of health care facilities.

When selecting a table for this purpose it is important to have a solidly constructed table that is padded, has adequate, wide straps for security, safety and comfort and that also has a foot board that is wide enough to comfortably support the patient. The option of locking casters on the table is also an important feature since the table can be secured in place to prevent any movement that may be anxiety provoking to the patient. The table can also be moved from patient room to room as needed to allow therapy in the room rather than requiring the patient to come to a treatment or therapy area, at least initially.

What options are available in tilt tables and can all patients use the same type and style of tilt table?

Since many patients using a tilt table will be non-ambulatory or regaining movement after long periods of bed rest a hi low option can be invaluable. This allows patients that are in wheelchairs to easily access the table in the horizontal position from the chair with the table top lowered to easy transfer level. Once the patient is secured on the table in the horizontal position the table can be raised and then tilted, keeping the patient calm, secure and safe through the entire process.

Most tables are designed for standard sized adult patients and can safely tilt and support patients of up to 325 pounds. Bariatric patients cannot use these tables and instead require a bariatric table. A bariatric table can safely support patients up to 500 pounds. These types of tables are typically motorized for smooth, continuous positioning.

Are all tilt tables manual crank or what other options are available? What are the pros and cons of each?

Tilt tables can be either manual crank or positioned by electric motors. Both options are equally good and really it is a personal preference choice. Manual crank tables tend to be less expensive than electrical options and, because they don't have an electrical requirement for operation, they may be more versatile in a wider number of settings. Electric tables will require the use of a hospital grade plug in, which may not be available in all environments.

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Ultrasound Tables Q & A

Monday, October 10, 2011

What accessories are available for ultrasound tables that can be used in both OB/GYN settings as well as for general practices?

Retractable side rails are a good addition to ultrasound tables in all types of medical settings. The side rails provide additional comfort and security for the patient and also an increased level of safety when not directly supervised by medical staff or technicians. Not all models of tables are suitable for use with side rails so it is important to consider the specific model and if this is a possible feature. While side rails are typically used for all patients they can also be dropped down and fully retracted when not needed or for allowing the patient to easily get on and off the table.

Retractable stirrups are another key feature for ultrasound tables, particularly but not exclusively in OB/GYN practices. The stirrups, like the side rails, can be retracted when not in use. They can also be positioned and adjusted as needed based on the specific patient.

What is the best ultrasound table for providing a variety of possible positions for the maximum number of ultrasound procedures?

While some of the ultrasound tables, particularly the echo image tables are designed to provide a flat surface, many of the two and three section tables allow greater freedom in positioning patients for a wide range of ultrasound tests. For many practices, including OB/GYN a two or three section table provides increased patient comfort which only helps the technician or doctor in obtaining the necessary ultrasound images. Two section tables have a movable back rest while three section tables include a drop down foot and leg rest. All sections of the table operate independently of each other allowing for the maximum number of positions possible. These styles of tables can also be extended to a flat surface for procedures that require the patient be prone or supine.

Are there specially designed ultrasound tables for bariatric patients?

Ultrasound tests are used in many different types of bariatric treatments and there are several different models of tables designedspecifically for these patients. These tables are very similar in external appearance to standard tables however they are specially constructed and reinforced to provide a safe, secure table for large patients. Most bariatric ultrasound tables are rated for weights of up to 600 pounds. The width of these tables can be between 20 and 33 inches, depending on the specific make, model and design of the table. High density urethane foam padding provides a comfortable surface for patients on many of the tables including those for bariatric patients. Larger pillows that are appropriately sized for the width of the table are optional and can provide additional comfort and support to patients using the table.

Power lift tables for bariatric patients, especially those that are immobile or have limited mobility are a good option to minimize the need for staff assisted transfers when getting on and off of the table.

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Tips for Finding the Right Medical Imaging Table

Friday, October 07, 2011

What is the major advantage to a C-Arm medical imaging table over a standard imaging table?

C-Arm medical imaging tables are fast becoming the table of choice in many different medical settings from clinics through to major hospitals. The advantage to these specialized tables is that they are compatible with virtually all C-Arm devices and equipment, allowing the facility to have a greater range of use for the table besides just imaging. C-Arm tables and equipment can be used in surgical theaters, pain management treatments as well as in multi-disciplinary practices. The versatility of the table combined with the smaller size, power lift options and long term warranty on most of the best models and styles means that they are both cost effective and actually can save money. The biggest money saving feature comes into play with the many uses for the table, saving the cost of requiring several different tables for different types of imaging and other medical devices. C-Arm tables can be used with all C-Arm imaging equipment as well as with ceiling mounted imaging systems of any type.

What are the options or features on different types of medical imaging tables that may be important to consider in general practice or specializations?

The actual size of the imaging surface of the table is always important to consider when selecting a medical imaging table. Some tables offer up to 56 inches of metal free surface area while specialized types of medical imaging tables may provide additional features such as arm boards and positioning pads that can be used with interfering with the quality of the imaging system.  Drop windows on the table allow easy access to the patient and allows the technician to get as close as necessary for correct patient positioning.

Different components on the table itself, including the backrest, leg rest and head rest mobility can be important factors. When these components can be positioned for patient comfort and correct positioning of the area of the body to be imaged the result is less time in staff positioning of the patient and fewer retakes of x-rays or other imaging methods. Adjustable and retractable stirrups on tables can be helpful for a variety of different imaging needs in virtually all types of medical practices. 

What is the most effective option to prevent staff from having to complete assisted transfers when moving patients from wheelchairs and other mobility devices onto medical imaging tables?

Power hi low types of medical imaging tables are ideal for patients in wheelchairs, mobility devices or those with difficulty in getting on and off fixed height tables. With the ability to lower the table to a comfortable level of between 18 and 21 inches, and then raise it to the desired height once the patient is correctly positioned on the table, it is safer for both staff and patients. Lowering the table to allow the patient to get off the table also provides greater comfort and security to the individual. 

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Diagnosing Your Needs for Diagnostic Tables

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

What is the best type of diagnostic table for a general practice that sees a range of patients from children through to the elderly?
Depending on the type of tables you are considering from C-Arm tables through to ultrasound and imaging tables there are several excellent choices for general practices. Since you want a table that is easily accessible for both younger patients as well as elderly people with possibly mobility issues, consider a power table. While these are more expensive they also save stress on the patients and prevent the need for assisted transfers by staff members. Power tables can have a variety of additional features including being on casters to allow easy positioning and movement. Most C-Arm tables will be designed with casters however they may not have the hi low power option, so you do have to decide which is functionally more important in your particular practice.

Are there different types of diagnostic tables that are designed specifically for work with bariatric patients and what features do they have?

Yes, as with most medical equipment there are specifically designed diagnostic tables that can be used with all patients, including bariatric patients. These tables are similar in design to all other tables however they are built with the ability to safely support additional weight. Most bariatric diagnostic tables are approved for use with patients of up to 600 pounds, which includes the power tables. This is an important consideration when working with bariatric patients that may have limited mobility and difficulty in moving to and from a stationary height table.
Diagnostic tables for bariatric patients tend to have reinforced steel angles and reinforcement on the stress points of the table. They can also have additional braces and support in the central column or the leg area under the table. This reinforcement is very discreet and virtually undetectable, giving all the equipment in your exam rooms the same appearance. This is ideal in creating a coordinated office that still can safely and easily accommodate patients of all weights and sizes.

I want to create a less institutional look to my diagnostic area, what options do I have in diagnostic tables that would look less like standard medical equipment?
With more and more offices becoming environmentally friendly and using more green types of equipment and furnishings when possible the need for natural products in diagnostic tables has come to the surface. In addition the movement towards more patient friendly equipment has also created a demand for natural woods and less institutional looking furnishings and equipment. The result is that tables are now available with an eco-friendly wood construction protected with wood designed laminate. This combination of natural appearance with strength, durability and long lasting surface protection is very popular in all types of clinical settings. It is also possible to choose upholstery colors in natural shades such as greens, browns, burgundies and blues that are very soothing and "natural" in appearance.

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Surgical Operating Tables Q & A

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

What is the typical size of a surgical table and what are the parameters of the range of height settings on the table?
Surgical tables are designed for practical purposes as well as to be security to safely hold patients in the desired position while in surgery. There is some variation in different options of tables depending on the features offered in the table and the overall design. Most surgery tables will be 19 to 20 inches in width and from 79 to 83 inches in length. There are some tables that are designed to be wider to accommodate larger patients but these are usually only used in specialized operating theaters and practices, typically with bariatric patients.

Most tables will adjust to low ranges of 31 inches and higher elevations of up to 40 inches or more. Some tables have a variety of different ranges for other settings such as the Trendelenburg and reverse Trendelenburg positions, lateral tilt, leg and back rest as well as the actual head rest, but this does not affect the overall height and positioning of the table.

What are the most important features for selecting surgical tables for smaller clinics where a variety of surgeons and medical staff will be working in the same operating suite?

In smaller clinical settings and hospitals the versatility of the surgical table is critical to avoid having to have numerous surgical suites and table options. In the situation where a variety of different procedures will be performed on one table choosing the model with the greatest flexibility is the most important. Look for tables that provide a split leg design that will accommodate a wider range of patient positioning without difficulty. In addition tables that have a maximum range of additional features or standard accessories that come with the table package can help to save money.

Look also for tables with at least a one year manufacturer's warranty on all parts. If you do want to customize the table with regards to features or upholstery colors it may be important to order ahead and you may have additional costs with upgrading or changing specific aspects of the table that have to be custom made.

What additional features typically come with a basic or more deluxe model of surgical table?

The standard accessories that come with a standard and deluxe type of surgical table will vary based on the manufacturer as well as the specific table type and package. Most of the universal tables will include components such as a head rest, two shoulder supports, two arm boards, two stirrups and two leg rests. Additional components may include lateral supports, anesthesia screens and additional clamps that are supplied with the table. Other tables may include fewer standard accessories which may need to be factored into the cost of purchasing a basic model over a deluxe or universal model of table. Shopping online and when surgical tables are on sale can also allow you to get more table for your budget.

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