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Stroke victim credits a ‘Magic carpet’ to recovery

Julia Parker demonstrates the Hovermatt and Hoverjack system, using Dr Norman Gray as her ‘patient’. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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A piece of hospital equipment became one woman’s “magic carpet”, after a near-miss at Wairarapa Hospital led to a reassessment of care.

Moving and handling co-ordinator Julia Parker told the patient story at Wairarapa District Health Board meeting on Monday, which involved a stroke victim in her mid-60s.

After surgery, the woman was experiencing extreme pain on her left side and discomfort each time she was moved.

She was also experiencing severe diarrhoea up to 14 times a day, which meant she needed to be moved regularly, Parker said.

It took up to five staff members to move the previously independent woman and, on one of these occasions, the patient slipped while in a standing hoist.

The hoist required the patient to use the right side of her body to bear some weight partially.

The incident happened because the nurse did not realise how tired the patient was at the time and a strap was not secured, Parker said.

While the woman was not physically injured, she felt she was burdening staff with her care.

“The patient did note that they lost quite a lot of confidence in the staff.”

After reviewing the incident and reassessing its care, hospital staff decided to use its Hovermatt and Hoverjack system, which it already owned.

Essentially an airbed, the system allowed staff and the patient to exert less physical effort when moving was needed.

“Because we only have one in the hospital, it’s taken a bit of time to get used to it and for uptake to occur,” Parker said.

Only two staff were needed to move the patient after the change.

In a statement given to the hospital, the patient said the equipment gave her back her dignity.

She felt like she was “being cuddled” while in the device, and referred to it as “my magic carpet”.

The only downside, she said, “was not using it earlier”.

Parker said the mats came in two varieties, one for single-patient use [which could be reused for the same patient multiple times] and a reusable one [which could be cleaned and reused for multiple patients].

Wairarapa Hospital needed more of the reusable variety, Parker told the board.

“One just doesn’t really cut it.”

She demonstrated the equipment during the meeting, using board member Norman Gray as her ‘patient’.

The patient had since been discharged to a nursing home, Parker said. The equipment had also been recommended to the home.

Deputy chairman of the board Tony Becker noted most aged care and rest homes only had slings.

Board chairman Sir Paul Collins said, “It sounds like something we should work with aged care and rest homes on”.

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