Skip to primary content

A New Bed for Mental Health Services Developed by the Users

A new bed for the Mental Health Services is developed through user involvement of patients and employees across regions and companies in Denmark. The objectives are comfort, a sense of security, safety and proper working procedures


Read the final evaluation report on the project (Danish)

Project Motivation

Ahead of the project, the need for a new bed-type to furnish future psychiatric patient rooms was identified throughout all five Danish Regions. Beds used in mental health services differ on a number of points from beds designed for somatic hospitals. Thus, it is not appropriate - in several cases, not even possible - to use beds that are fundamentally designed for somatic hospitals. The main difference in the functional needs between a bed used in the mental health services and a bed used in the somatic hospital, are the safety requirements and concerns. These requirements and concerns ensure that patients feel comfortable and safe and abstain from self-harm. In addition, they must ensure a sound working environment for the health staff. However, such safety requirements comprise a challenge when e.g. electronic solutions are integral parts of the bed.

The purpose of the project has been to invent a bed to optimize hospitalization and the sleep experience for patients in mental health services; a bed that meets safety and sanitation regulations while ensuring a sound working environment for health staff.

User Involvement and Cross-regional Collaboration

The project is a one-of-a-kind in Denmark, and therefore other regions have shown a great interest. This position has prompted representatives from psychiatric wards and patients from across the country to participate in the open innovation workshops. Themes at theses workshops were identification and qualification of requirements for the new bed for the mental health services and were held at Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark. Main purpose of these workshops was to identify needs relevant for the design of the bed and its function across all psychiatric wards and patients in Denmark.

Throughout the project, user involvement has been the cornerstone for the development process. Users from different psychiatric wards have taken part in the developing the new bed for the mental health services. The users have continually been involved in the process, including building, testing and further development of various prototypes of the bed.

The Region of Southern Denmark and the Capital Region have formed a close collaboration and together with patients and employees, the requirements and first design for the future bed for the mental health services has been identified.

A large part of the innovation work has been to identify the user needs in relation to the usage of the bed, including observations in psychiatric wards, interviews with employees, patients, relatives, a series of patient associations, innovation workshops, and prototype testing.

Mental illnesses are highly complex and the condition of patients varies a great deal. To include all these different needs, six personas have been devised who each represent a certain type of patient. All six personas are based on in-depth field research during which patients from different wards have been observed and interviewed. These needs and insights have served as guides for the design of the new bed. During the user involvement process, a pattern appeared for the demands for the functional requirements of the bed, describing everything from user-friendly experiences, work procedures, sanitation standards to the very design of the bed.

Development Collaboration – Public-Private Innovation

The company Agitek have worked closely with the regions’ employees, designers and psychiatric patients in order to finish developing and production-maturing the psychiatric bed along with the consortium partners Alvritol and B.V. Spring Produkties, and the subcontractor, Protac A/S. They won the procurement put out to tender by the Mental Health Services in Southern Denmark and in the Capital Region in January till May 2014.

The procurement based on operational needs is a limited procurement. The contract includes both a development process and a subsequent completion and delivery of 500 beds to the mental health services. During this process, requirements and milestones have been stipulated to ensure progress and completion of the project.

The contract is a development-partnership-contract between a private and a public partner. The private partner manages both the development and the delivery of the bed; the latter provides that the performance targets for the development task as defined in the tender documents are fulfilled. The public partner will be actively involved in the development stages and thus, e.g. contribute with therapeutic expertise and manage user involvement and tests.

From the initiation of the project involving the open innovation workshops, several private companies have participated on equal terms as everyone else. Thus, they have disseminated but also gained new knowledge and expanded their network, including new potential partners and customers.

The New Bed for the Mental Health Services

The new bed is significantly different from existing beds. The design is homely, welcoming and functional without compromising on the staffs’ and the patients’ safety. The new bed stands out by being cordless and battery-powered. It is sanitary and easy to clean. The bed has a different, non-hospital-like design and a smart, matching multifunctional comfort cushion.

Since spring 2015, the new bed for mental health services has been rolled out in nine different wards in the Region of Southern Denmark, the Capital Region of Denmark and the Central Region of Denmark. An evaluation is currently ongoing of the 258 beds delivered in the three aforementioned regions.