Multi-Purpose Medical Chairs - Saving Space, Time and Back Injuries

Multi-Purpose Medical Chairs - Saving Space, Time and Back Injuries

Multifunctional chairs, designed for hospitals, have the potential to ease the workload for busy acute care staff as well as other significant benefits.

In this short guide, we are going to look at two types of chairs:

  1. Multifunctional chairs for patient mobilisation and "sitting out".  These are typically used in Intensive Care, High Dependency, Trauma & Orthopaedics, Respiratory Wards and Acute Stroke / Neuro.
  2. Multifunctional chairs for Fast Track areas; ED, Frailty Units, Day Surgery, Catheter Labs, Treatment Centre, Endoscopy and Pain Clinics.

Multifunctional chairs for patient mobilisation

Sitting into a chair can be an important milestone in rehabilitation after critical illness, making it very important that the patient is kept comfortable and safe both during the transfer to and from the chair and whilst they are sat out.

When compared to a simple tilt in space care chair, how can a multifunctional chair provide additional benefits?

  • A layflat chair that goes into a true supine position, with removable sides, allows a hoist-free transfer to take place. A lateral transfer can be less traumatic than a hoist transfer for the patient and also safer if the patient has a tracheostomy and / or multiple lines.
  • Removable sides (arms/shoulder supports) can make patient access easier, removing barriers to side transfers and making patient care tasks and repositioning far easier.
  • Electric hi-lo prevents stooping, encouraging good posture for the HCP whilst transferring laterally or administering care.
  • Electric hi-lo can also make standing transfers easier, either onto a device like a Stedy or for walking / standing 
  • Multiple attachments can create a mobile platform for care with IV, Oxygen and even portable ventilator support.

Here are some snapshots of how a multifunctional chair can be used:

A high quality castor wheel base with tracking (directional locking) and suitable handlebars can also open up possibilities for taking the patient off the ward / unit - to the café, an outside area or to another clinical area such as for a scan.
A correctly specified multifunctional chair can successfully perform the role of a lateral transfer device, a standing transfer device, a portering chair and finally a pressure-relieving, comfortable and supportive care chair.
Here is the video showing the Sertain chair integrating with an Arjo Stedy.


Multifunctional Chairs for Fast Track Acute Care

A slightly different approach is taken with fast-track multifunctional seating, and the chair functionality is usually an extension of the equipment's main function as a stretcher or trolley. 

Fast-track areas are busy, demanding and present a lot of high wear and tear usage so features such as protective drop-sides are vital to prevent damage to the upholstery, and other parts of the equipment. 

The main reasons for using a multifunctional chair in a busy Emergency Department, Treatment Centre or similar high-throughput area would be:

  • Space saving (in the chair position, it would be a lot shorter than a flat trolley)
  • Easier to enter and exit, especially for shorter or frail patients
  • More comfortable with adjustable positioning
  • Easy to move the patient from ED post consultation to be scanned or to another ward.
For day surgery, multifunctional chairs also have significant benefits.  Once again another space saving opportunity... they can be used as a chair to seat the patient pre-op, and then converted into a lay-flat position for the patient to be laterally transferred onto an operating table.  
Recliner chair vs trolley - space saving
Chairs can be further adapted with the use of options such as Oxygen and IV pole support, footplates and length extensions, arm boards (phlebotomy and infusion treatments) and meal / activity trays.
The latest multifunctional chairs available can be specifically adapted to the areas in which they are to be used, and versions exist for:
  • General / ED
  • Day surgery
  • Endoscopy 
  • Eye surgery and ENT procedures

In summary:

Chair-based nursing is a researched, tried and tested concept taking off around the world. Multifunctional chairs now offer so many advantages that their compact platform for care is often the preferred choice over more traditional solutions. 

The opportunity to save time, space, multiple equipment surfaces and transfers is too significant to ignore. Nursing and care is a physically and mentally demanding task and so selecting the right platform for care which reduces the physical strain on nurses and can simplify procedures is encouraged.

If we can support you in your investigations into the feasibility of multifunctional chairs in your hospital, please get in touch either through our contact page or on 01926 889667