HEALTHCARE: New critical care visitor beds allow families to spend beside loved ones

A nurse demonstrates the specially designed chairs which turn into beds.

By Hamish McTavish

Families now have the option to spend the night next to loved ones in critical care at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, which takes patients from WSest Dunbartonshire and Argyll, thanks to new specially designed chairs which turn into beds.

Four new ‘Buddy’ chairs have been purchased to enable those visiting patients receiving end-of-life care more time by their bedsides.

The chairs mean loved ones don’t need to worry about travelling to and from the hospital, or finding a bed during what can be a distressing time for families.

When not in use the chairs tuck away taking up minimal room, and during the day can be used as normal seats.

Driven by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s (NHSGGC’s) person centred approach to care, QEUH charge nurse Doreen MacEachan recognised that often patients wanted to spend the night, and without guaranteed beds immediately available, this could cause additional stress to families.

Recognising the importance of a good night’s sleep and the need for families to be close to their loved ones, the Bereavement Support Service purchased four Buddy chairs for the Critical Care Department, QEUH. The service was able to purchase the chairs thanks to a grant from NHS Education for Scotland.

Doreen said: “It’s so important for families to be able to spend as much time as possible with their loved ones at end-of-life care. The buddy chairs provide a simple solution and have had a significant impact in the time we’ve had them. Patients are able to spend their remaining time with those closest to them at their bedsides, and loved ones don’t need to worry about travel or missing out on crucial moments.

“In addition to providing visitors with comfortable respite, it also welcomes the family to be included as part of the team looking after their loved one.”

If proved successful and suitable It’s hoped that additional chairs can be purchased so more patients can benefit from across services within NHSGGC.

Frances McLinden, South Director for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, added:  “In the short time we’ve had them, the buddy chairs have helped a number of families with loved ones in critical care. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference and being able to assist at this most devastating time for families helps us deliver compassionate care to patients. I am grateful to the critical care team for taking this initiative forward and supporting our patients spend time with their loved ones.”


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