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News archive - November 2015

Hospitals go mobile

Hospitals go mobile

Traditionally, patient notes are written up and checked at a central nursing station, often located in the middle of a ward or department, or by a clinician at a patient’s bedside.

However, two important changes are taking place within healthcare environments that are changing this approach and at the same time driving the creation of a new type of furniture solution.

Due to increasingly-stringent infection control measures, doctors and nursing staff in most hospitals are no longer allowed to sit on the edge of patients’ beds to fill in forms, order medication, or rifle though notes.

This means they have to return to the central nursing station, or their office, in between each consultation, costing valuable time.

The paper trail

Secondly, the NHS has announced its intention to become paperless within the next three years. This means all handwritten notes will be replaced by electronic systems that can be accessed via smartphones, tablets and laptops by doctors and nurses wherever they are in a hospital.

Furniture manufacturers have witnessed these changes and, in response to requests from trusts, have begun to design new writing desks and workstations that enable staff to do their work in this ever-more-mobile landscape.

David Bailey Furniture Systems has launched a solution in conjunction with Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust. It has since ordered 112 of the new Mobile Writing Desks from the company’s Healthline range for use at the Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Trevor Gillman, David Bailey managing director, said: “Hospital trusts banning nursing staff from sitting on patients’ beds has not only dehumanised the patient/doctor relationship, but has made it much more difficult for nursing staff to take important notes in ward areas.

“We designed our new mobile writing desk for hospitals to help address this issue and to make it easier for nursing staff to monitor the wellbeing of patients and write up notes by patients’ besides.”

Swivel castors on the base of the units make it simple for staff to move the desks across the ward and different-coloured bands on the front panels prevent them being taken between departments, enhancing infection control.

Electro-mechanical product design firm, Bytec, has also responded to requests from the sector, with a new range of workstation solutions. Its Smart-Cart and MIT Cart have been ergonomically designed especially for health and social care environments.

Features include easy-clean surfaces, motorised height adjustment of worktops, and colour-coded panelling.

A waste of time

Speaking to hdm, Bytec divisional manager, Andy Stevens said: “If you are doing a time and motion study then you’d find that often in hospitals we are paying nurses and doctors to walk around, backwards and forwards to a desk to type up notes or get information. It’s a waste of time and money.

“Our Mobile Writing Desks can take all relevant equipment, from label printing machines to laptops and anything else a clinician might need, to the patient’s bedside.”

In designing the product, footprint was a key consideration. Patient bays and bedrooms are not very big, so the desks needed to be easy to manoeuvre.

“A lot of the early powered carts were a lot bigger and nurses didn’t warm to them,” said Stevens. “They ended up plugged in over in a corner and that’s where they stayed, so new models need to be visibly mobile.”

The design team also had to consider the wires that come with the equipment.

“We have also designed coiled cables and we make them bright orange so they can be easily seen and are less likely to be a trip hazard.”

In response to customer requests, Bytec’s carts can be used while they are charging and the entire unit is easy to clean.

“Our designs are all die cast, so they are not just smooth on top, but all over, said Stevens “In the case of a horrendous spillage, even the wheels can be removed by anyone with a screwdriver, rather than having to call us in.

“It’s little design changes like this that are making all the difference.”

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