Specialist healthcare manufacturer, David Bailey, says that in its field, one of the key aftermaths of the COVID pandemic is that wards now have to be ‘more flexible than ever’, with the ability to adapt – ‘sometimes in just a few hours’ – to the rapidly changing needs of patients.
The company says that the focus is now ‘all about movement – where the beds go, the furniture follows’ – a growing trend, which it believes could in time change the way nurses and clinicians choose the type of furniture needed for wards and medical centres.
David Bailey said: “We have all got used to the idea of seeing beds moved around hospitals, and now that trend has taken another major step forward, with writing desks, storage cupboards, and numerous other items of furniture, all set on wheels and ready to move at a moment’s notice. It’s not, however, just a case of sticking a set of wheels on an existing product range,” the furniture specialist added. “It’s all about innovative design, stringent hygiene, and products that can withstand the everyday wear and tear of a busy hospital environment.
“It’s logical that furniture designed to move will be more liable to everyday stress and knocks – some more than others. Mobile writing desks, for example, have their own particular challenge, offering a simple solution for nurses to move from bed to bed to take vital notes, while knowing that every movement offers the potential for an impact.”
Busy hospitals need to efficiently manage bed availability also creates problems, particularly when capacity is reached, with wards needing to be more flexible in terms of segregation, while simultaneously ensuring adequate infection control.
To increase medical capacity in London to treat COVID, an NHS Nightingale hospital was completed in only nine days, using the vast space of the ExCeL Centre in Docklands – ‘just one such example, but with many similar success stories seen elsewhere in the country’.
As to what mobile hospital furniture looks like – in David Bailey’s case it includes ‘a versatile choice of bedside cabinets, wardrobes, storage units, and writing desks, specially designed with movement in mind, and ready to be wheeled into action to meet any emergency situation or day-to-day medical requirement’. The company said: “The bedside cabinets offer easy-access cupboards for mobile phones and wallets, and can be accessed by patients via inbuilt doors at the side, while the main cupboards have been traditionally kept at the front for larger items.
“As with the rest of the range, the cabinets have been manufactured with a hospital environment in mind, and are sufficiently robust to meet the day-to-day challenges of moving beds and trolleys, which frequently result in knocks and bumps. The units also meet the highest hygiene standards, but – most importantly – can be moved within seconds to any other part of the hospital or medical centre.”
David Bailey says that being mobile also offers many other benefits in terms of branding and colour coordination. It said: If your mobile furniture belongs in the purple zone, why not have it manufactured in that colour accordingly, maybe with the right logo incorporated into the design. It not only looks good, but also reduces the chances of the item ending up ‘lost’ in another part of the hospital.
“Static storage units, reception areas, and desks all have their place, but those on the clinical frontline need everything else to move as and when they do – and that’s why mobile furniture could be the future for Britain’s hospitals.”