An investment in a new fleet of specialist seating systems is not only benefitting patients recovering from COVID-19 at Derriford Hospital, but also helped to support a local business during the first wave of the pandemic.
Last year, at the start of the initial COVID-19 crisis, the Multidisciplinary Rehabilitation Team at University Hospitals Plymouth invested in 40 HydroTilt chairs, produced by CareFlex, in order to aid patients in their recovery from the illness.
“These chairs can assist patients with their respiratory function, which is essential in their recovery, as well as having the added benefits of pressure relief, postural management and helping with independence,” explains Jude Fewings, Therapy Lead for the COVID-19 Respiratory and Rehabilitation Team. “A lot of patients recovering from COVID-19 struggle with weakened muscles and fatigue, so being able to adjust the chair to meet their needs greatly aids their care.”
Stuart Hussey, a patient recovering from COVID-19, said: “It’s a really long recovery process. I lost 2-3 stone thanks to this disease and have lots of muscle I need to rebuild, so having something comfy to sit in makes the world of difference. You might be here for a long time, like me, but this chair is such a nice shape and so soft and padded that it makes it feel like a little bit of home, which really helps.
“They start you doing your exercises by simply standing up, and this chair helps you to do just that as it’s got supportive arms and bits of it tilt to help you – plus it’s nice and cushioned too!”
The Rehabilitation Team also purchased static bikes to use with the chairs, which Stuart can be seen using in the video above.
“Another added bonus is that these chairs fit well with infection control, as they can be completely wiped down,” adds Jude. “Some patients have found them so helpful that they’ve ordered their own when discharged home, as they can be upholstered in different materials that look much less clinical.
“And of course, purchasing from a local business and supporting the local factory and its workers, based in Newton Abbot, was an unintended but very happy consequence.”
Not only were the chairs delivered in rapid time, but the Rehabilitation team were also delighted to receive drawings and pictures from the children of the CareFlex factory workers, who wanted to say thank you and show their support of their local NHS (pictured below).
Craig Downton, Sales and Marketing Director for CareFlex, said: “When COVID-19 first struck, the unknown was so daunting for everyone but we knew our equipment played a vital part in supporting our NHS and the patients that needed them, which is why we took the decision to keep our doors open and to keep manufacturing. When the order arrived from our local hospital, everyone in the organisation worked hard to deliver the chairs as quickly as possible; it was a real team effort.
“We all knew we were doing our bit for our local community and our children wanted to be a part of this as well. The children of our employees thoroughly enjoyed colouring in pictures of support and admiration, knowing that it would help to brighten up the day of the brave NHS staff.
“We are delighted to hear how our equipment has been used during this period and how it is currently helping and assisting patients who are suffering. It really does fill us with pride to know that our chairs are making a difference.”
The HydroTilt chairs can now be found throughout a multitude of wards at Derriford Hospital, and will continue to benefit patients recovering from a wide range of illness, including COVID-19.