Wellington Hospital’s Surgical Assessment and Planning Unit (SAPU) has recently replaced its waiting chairs with four Modsel Contour recline standard chairs to help improve efficiency and meet Ministry of Health targets to assess ED patients, and admit them or send them home, within six hours.
“We really want to maximise the flow of patients and make the assessment process faster,” explains SAPU Charge Nurse Manager Nomer Dela Cruz.
“We have eight short-stay inpatient beds and two assessment beds. So when patients arrive from ED or their GP, we put them into these new chairs where we can get the surgical assessment process underway.”
While people wait for doctors, registrars and beds to become available, nurses can take an initial history, carry out blood tests, start infusions, administer medications, organise scans and do whatever else is necessary for the patient from the comfort of their Modsel Contour recline chair.
The multi-purpose chairs can be used in a variety of clinical settings. Patients can sit upright or fully recline, or they can lie down completely flat like on a bed. The stability of twin columns under the chair means it can be used for CPR or specialised procedures. The height of the chair is also fully adjustable.
“The previous chairs we were using before could put a strain on the nurses’ backs because you couldn’t adjust the height,” Nomer says. “And they weren’t suitable as an assessment bed. If there’s only one patient in that space, we can now pull a curtain closed around them and do the assessment right there in the chair. They can lie flat if necessary and if there’s an emergency like a vasovagal (faint) episode, we can manage that more easily too.”
The chairs (which are capable of holding 300kg), sit on easy-to-steer castor wheels so patients who are in extreme discomfort like abdominal pain are not forced to get up and walk to an assessment bed when one becomes available – they can simply be wheeled there.
“The chairs are very comfortable,” Nomer says. “But the main benefit is they help to maximise the flow of patients through SAPU. We are a small ward and we don’t have a reception area, so we use these chairs as a point of reference as to who’s waiting and we can get initial aspects of their assessment underway.”
“Overall these chairs are a great help to us in SAPU,” Nomer says.