"Years ago, people used to go into hospital and stay in bed but now staff like to get patients up and into a chair to heal quicker and it is better for patients physical and psychological welfare."
A business which specialises in healthcare furniture to improve the lives of patients in hospital and nursing homes is working round the clock to meet a massive demand for its services during Covid-19.
Caremed Alrick Healthcare, which has divisions in Coventry and Australia, provides specialist chairs and beds for hospitals throughout the UK including University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Free Hospital in London and John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford as well as nursing home groups.
Some of the equipment is manufactured in Lake Cargelligo – a seven-hour drive from Sydney – and flown to Falkland Close on the Charter Avenue Industrial Estate in Coventry to be assembled and supplied to its clients. Other equipment lines are sourced in Europe and locally, with all assembly taking place at the Coventry site.
The business, which is receiving support in its growth plans from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub, has seen a 247 per cent increase in orders since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Nathan Thompson, who is a partner in Caremed Alrick Healthcare along with his wife, Rebecca, said their products were helping to reduce the time patients needed to stay in hospitals.
“We provide a seating system which is designed to improve early mobilisation in critical care and high dependency units,” he said.
“Years ago, people used to go into hospital and stay in bed but now staff like to get patients up and into a chair to heal quicker and it is better for patients’ physical and psychological welfare.
“Instead of hoisting critical care patients out of bed, the chairs can be flattened and raised for transfer, and then lowered down into a chair position which is helpful to staff as well. From seated, the patient can be assisted by the chair, to their feet.
“The cost to look after critical care patients is high and studies carried out at a leading hospital showed on average a patient was in intensive care for 14 days but by using our chairs as part of a rehab programme, that was reduced to nine days so there is a financial impact as well.
“We also provide adjustable beds, mattresses and chairs to nursing home groups 24/7 which is important when patients need help during a weekend or a certain type of mattress is needed for a new resident leaving hospital.
“Another aspect of the business which has grown in recent weeks involves working with our partners Medi9 in Cornwall to deep-clean the equipment we hire to hospitals because some of the areas where this is used are highly infectious; this sanitisation service is also provided to nursing homes and educational and commercial premises.”
Nathan said the support of the CWLEP Growth Hub was already making a difference.
He said: “We have been invited to take part in a trade video call the Growth Hub has organised with Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western so we will be able to put questions to him directly.
“The Growth Hub has also put us in touch with Coventry City Council to work through a grant application process which will prove useful for the expansion of our business.”
Justine Chadwick, account manager at the CWLEP Growth Hub, said the specialised nature of Caremed Alrick Healthcare meant patients in hospitals and nursing homes were being provided with specialist equipment in the Coronavirus pandemic.
She said: “Caremed Alrick Healthcare is proving to be a really successful business which is fantastic considering it started life in a portacabin in Bodmin Road in Coventry!
“Air freight costs have risen sharply in recent weeks due to the restriction on flights so the fact we have been able to give Nathan the chance to voice his concerns direct to a MP is a great opportunity.
“Connecting businesses to enable them to grow and diversify is vital at this time which is why the Growth Hub, in partnership with the Chamber, has launched a new portal called www.FinditinCW.co.uk. It is dedicated to businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire and is another way to help businesses survive and recover from the current crisis.
“We have also helped Nathan improve his network connections with nearby businesses and he is already talking to another company about developing an app which underlines the different ways the Growth Hub can help even in these troubled times.”