The equipment and devices aimed at the safe patient transport on ambulance must have specific features.
Getting to know and distinguish them for the needs they do meet is not easy, at times. Let’s clarify what a stretcher-support, a tray and a stretcher are.
What are the differences between the stretcher, tray and stretcher support?
The stretcher, tray and stretcher-support are interconnected and independent devices necessary to carry ill or injured people on the ambulance. Taking them separately or in their mutual relations allows ambulance builders and operators, as well as the decision makers of medical facilities, to assess the specific transport needs and to choose the most suitable products.
The stretcher. Different uses and types
The stretcher is the first device designed to transport patients unable to move because of illness or trauma.
There are different types of stretcher according to the use: from medical transport in and outside hospital to emergency transport. The same, there are specific stretchers according to the patient type and disease; from trauma to anti-trauma stretcher to paediatric stretcher, any type has its own features.
There are recovery stretchers, like basket stretchers and folding stretchers; trauma stretchers, like spinal boards and paediatric boards. Some stretchers require hand transport, others have a trolley and wheels.
Auto-loading stretchers are specific for ambulance transport, their trolley is folded to be loaded and stored onto rescue vehicles. Here the tray and ambulance stretcher support come into play.
Tray and stretcher-support in the ambulance
The stretcher loaded onto the ambulance for patient transport is placed on a tray: a rectangular surface, usually made of steel or aluminium, which is part of the stretcher support.
On the other hand, the stretcher-support is a system that allows to load the stretcher onto the ambulance and the stretcher is installed on the tray placed on the upper part of the stretcher support.
How a stretcher support is made
The stretcher support is a metallic structure fixed on the ambulance floor in the medical compartment designed with the aim to make much easier the stretcher loading and unloading, compensating the height difference between the vehicle floor and the stretcher.
The stretcher-support may have several accessories and functions. Indeed, over the years they evolved to meet the specific needs of the extra-hospital medical rescue and transport.
The rising number of medical equipment requested on board rescue vehicles as well as specific devices to treat the patient have influenced the design of stretcher-supports.
Firstly, the need to optimize the usable space inside the medical compartment has arisen, in order to store all the devices required by the new protocols and to allow the operators to move easily and work effectively.
So we see the first stretcher-supports with a compartment to store a scoop stretcher or a spinal board.
Later on, the need to have a device allowing the operator to move the patient closer or far to access the compartments behind led to the creation of a stretcher-support featuring sideways movement, usually activated by a pedal or lever.
Over time, the regulatory requirements and the operators’ domain expertise led to new functions: the tray can be pulled out to make the stretcher loading and unloading easier; the loading height can be adjusted, electrically or manually; the stretcher-support can be set in anti-shock position; shock-absorbing models to absorb vibrations and bumps, crucial in delicate transports like with poly-trauma patients or infants.
The spread of a safety culture of patients and operators on rescue vehicles must raise awareness about all products available on the market, also considering the current regulatory requirements.
Discover the range of Stem stretcher-supports.