How many wheelchairs does your facility have? Do you know where they all are?
Keeping track of wheelchairs may be a low priority on busy staff members’ radar screens, but it keeps the hospital’s operating costs down and customer service ratings up.
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Stores have plastic devices attached to countless items that set off alarms if carried through the door. Chicago stores have grocery carts with wheels that lock up if the cart gets too far from the door. In today’s world of apps, bar codes, surveillance cameras, and more gizmos than the average employee could ever keep up with, it seems there has to be a better way to keep track of what’s what, and where.
The best way to prevent wheelchairs from rolling out the door used to be to keep an eye on them. “We tell our associates to be observant and watch them as they would any other property item,” says Roger Schlies, director of guest services for Centegra Health System in McHenry, IL. “Preventing wheelchair theft is the entire staff’s responsibility.”
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) saves hospitals time and money due to misplaced or lost wheelchairs. According to a white paper by IPM Asset Solutions, Inc.,
–Wheelchairs are used by multiple clinical departments, outpatients, volunteers, families and even visitors.
–Often like a grocery cart, wheelchairs are picked up in one location and dropped off somewhere totally different.
–Until recent increased awareness to prevent the spread of infections, wheelchairs and grocery carts were often not cleaned between uses.
–only 1% of staff felt wheelchairs were always available when they were needed.
–Audits found that only 69% of the designated locations had the available par levels of wheelchairs.
–More importantly to the patient and despite intense emphasis on infection prevention practices, observations of wheelchair use found that only 7% were actually cleaned between use.
–The event team took cultures from a sample of wheelchairs and found 4 out of 10 positive for bacterial growth.1 comment: Kel Mohroron April 27, 2016 at 4:49 pm
- … Regardless of size, a provider can find credible guidance on designing and implementing wheelchair cleaning and availability management practices. These will improve patient, family member and visitor satisfaction. Just as important, the practices enable nurses to significantly reduce time and aggravation lost due to wheelchair searching and decontamination.
A wheelchair cleaning/availability system to improve patient/visitor satisfaction, save staff time/aggravation now being lost due to daily, inefficient, wheelchair searches and let’s not forget the need for decontamination.
I would suggest a fund raiser for new wheelchairs (plenty of Extra Large) and…. recruit some volunteers, maybe, to make Pediatric wheelchairs less scary looking and more fun. Magic Wheelchair is one nonprofit organization that makes epic costumes for children in wheelchairs, at no expense to their families: “Our goal is to put a smile on the face of every child in a wheelchair by transforming them into magical rides.”