How one company is helping to provide long-lasting, low-maintenance sleep solutions for visitors in hospitals and hospices
In hospital environments, it’s not only patients who benefit from well-designed beds.
In certain circumstances – for example on maternity and paediatric units and in end-of-life hospices – visitors will want to stay over.
And they, too, need somewhere comfortable to sleep.
John Miller is managing director of GP Care Systems, a specialist manufacturer of high-performance, heavy-duty, space-saving beds, specially developed for to accommodate patients’ relatives and carers overnight.
Developed from residential fold-away beds; the hospital range includes GLIDEAWAY, WISKAWAY, and NEAT-A-WARD wall beds, each setting new standards of safety, durability, comfort, convenience and space efficiency.
They are used by hospitals up and down the country, including Addenbrooke’s Hospital, which has had the same beds for the past 25 years, just having the parts serviced by the company at regular intervals.
Miller’s team also recently refurbished more than 100 of its parent wallbeds at Bristol Children’s Hospital after they had been in service for 19 years!
Miller told BBH: “I was at Great Ormond Street Hospital about 20 years ago and saw all these traditional fold-away guest beds in the corridors with wheels missing and other faults.
“They were using the sort of beds you have at home to put up visitors once in a while; and the hospital said they replaced them every 2-3 months.
“Originally our range of fold-away beds was aimed at studio flats, but we were getting more and more calls from hospitals and hospices so we looked at the design more closely.”
The single WISKAWAY 7500H Parents’ Wallbed is shown in a cubicle on a paediatric ward
The GLIDEAWAY bed is most like a traditional guest bed, being portable with automatic leg action; while the WISKAWAY and NEAT-A-WARD are designed to be permanently fixed in position and can also be used to provide rest facilities for on-call GPs and hospital staff where space is at a premium.
One of the most-attractive things about the beds for hospital procurers is their long lifespan, with most lasting in excess of 20 years with low maintenance demands .
Miller said: “A number of factors set us apart from other guest bed and wallbed suppliers.
“The first is that we are true specialists. Our products have been specifically developed for heavy-duty use in hospitals and hospices and we offer an after-sales service to help prolong the already-impressively long working life of our products.
“The second is that our beds are super-strong and resilient, but safe and easy to handle, and will easily outlast anything else on the market by a factor of many times.
“Our single beds can also comfortably cope with loadings of up to 200Kg and our doubles with 400kg.”
When not in use the WISKAWAY folds neatly into a wardrobe-type storage solution
To help with procurement, GP Care Systems has recently launched a specification guide.
Miller said: “Hospitals look for ‘guest beds’ and end up with the cheaper ones you’d buy for your home.
“They last about a month, they are not comfortable, and I find that really sad.”
“Over time, it costs much less to spend £700 on one of our beds, than to buy cheaper options, which will need constant replacement.
“For me it’s really sad and we are seeing a lot of money wasted on the wrong products.
“Hopefully that’s where our specification guide will help.”