By investing in special purpose hospital bed mover machines, facilities management firm Sodexo has improved porter productivity and has reduced the risk of manual handling injuries at University Hospital of South Manchester.
"By investing in three Bed Mover handling tugs from MasterMover, the environment that we work in is now much safer," says Mark Oldfield, Business Director at University Hospital of South Manchester (UHSM). He adds: "Furthermore, rather than two porters, only one is now needed to move a patient bed, which means the productivity of our portering staff has improved dramatically. The Bed Mover also caters for any bed type, so there are no issues with connecting to the three types of bed at UHSM."
UHSM is a major acute teaching hospital Trust that provides services for adults and children at Wythenshawe Hospital and Withington Community Hospital. UHSM is recognised as a centre of clinical excellence and provides district general hospital services and specialist tertiary services to the local community.
Mark Oldfield is employed by Sodexo, an organisation that provides on-site service solutions to the NHS and other healthcare clients. Sodexo specialises in managing non-clinical services such as food, cleaning, laundry, waste management, switchboard, car parking, interior and exterior building services.
At UHSM, there are three types of bed with a total bed count of 1,045. Over 100 porters are employed at the hospital, who are responsible for movement of beds. The three Bed Mover machines are used for both general patient movement and within the A&E department and Acute Theatres.
"At all times, Sodexo’s objective is to help to enhance the patient journey by focussing on providing a safe, clean and comfortable environment for patients, residents and healthcare staff," states Oldfield.
"Four months ago, we had no machines for moving patient beds around the hospital. Two porters would have to move a bed manually, which is not ideal in terms of productivity and there was also a risk of injury to porters. The task was therefore physically demanding and placed a lot of strain on the porters. We therefore looked for an alternative solution," explains Oldfield.
The Bed Mover is a compact machine, specifically designed to manoeuvre patient beds quickly and easily, with little effort required from only a single operator. The machine attaches easily to all bed types, using a unique coupling mechanism that connects the machine to the castors on the bed. British-designed and manufactured, the Bed Mover has standard, ergonomic controls and safety features, making it ideal for healthcare environments. The machine is small enough to fit easily into hospital lifts and to manoeuvre in tight spaces.
Anthony Brown, Healthcare Account Manager at MasterMover Ltd comments: "Rather than couple to the headboard or framework of the bed, the Bed Mover uses a novel trapdoor mechanism where the operator simply pulls the castors of the bed onto a multi-positional wheel lock, located on each side of the machine. As the wheel raises up, the bed castors drop into the trapdoor where they are effectively held in place. The porter then simply pushes a button on the machine which raises the castors off the ground, giving far more control over the bed during movement."
The Bed Mover is easy to clean or wipe down, supporting infection control. The machine is finished in a white, anti-microbial paint and the coupling wheel lock has a special polymer coat for durability.
The machine attaches to the top or bottom of the bed and can be manoeuvred and controlled from the opposite end of the bed using a joystick. The Bed Mover benefits from a range of safety features, including power steering, auto-braking, emergency stop and variable speed control. The AC motors on the machine also ensure quiet operation and improved control.
"We’ve been using the Bed Movers for three months now and we’re already beginning to see payback in terms of improved productivity of porters and in reducing accident and injury claims. 54 porters are now trained to use the Bed Movers and their feedback has been very positive. We therefore intend to buy another six Bed Movers in the near future," enthuses Oldfield.
The Bed Mover is also backed up by first class service and support from MasterMover’s network of regional service engineers, who are always on-hand ready to visit customer sites if a problem should occur on a machine or if the customer requires extra training.
Oldfield agrees: "In terms of product training and after sales support, we are very pleased with the services we’ve received from MasterMover. The Bed Mover itself is easy to use and so we’ve been able to train porters ourselves once a few of us were up to speed on how to use the machine. Moving beds around in tight spaces, in and out of elevators or along narrow corridors is now much easier and faster."