Patient handling is a skilled activity combining theoretical knowledge with practical experience. Poor technique and equipment can cause severe musculoskeletal injuries. The equipment required to ensure both the patients and medical professionals remain safe during any necessary transfer can be complex and technical, and there are several different variations and specifications on offer. The type and amount of equipment needed will vary according to the specific needs of care service users.
Injuries associated with patient handling have been a problem in healthcare for decades, particularly for nurses, who have the highest rates of work-related back pain among health professionals. When supplying equipment, providers should consider factors such as the needs of the individual, ensuring independence wherever possible for patients, and the safety of the individual and staff when devices are in use. With a key factor for protecting healthcare professionals being posture and positioning, unless this is instilled at the training and education phase by clinical settings and device providers, then key health and safety requirements cannot be fully met.
Medical devices for patient handling can range from technical surfaces, such as mattresses and beds, to complex rehab and mobility solutions like power chairs, hoists and many more. As a consultant with a vested interest in all elements of this market, I am noticing some impactful companies leading the charge, using innovation and training combined to provide industry-leading products.
Having just been awarded a second Queen’s Award for Enterprise for services to international trade, having previously received the honourable business award for innovation, Direct Healthcare Group (DHG) are one of the market leaders in the patient handling sector for a reason. Holding an impressive 15% market share in Europe across pressure ulcer prevention and patient handling, DHG distributes to a further 35 countries across Europe, Asia, North America and Australasia from its Welsh head office. Having seen a phenomenal 730% global sales increase since 2015, it also ranked first in the 2021 Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100 list.
Following a surge of growth for the healthcare sector in the past 18 months, DHG forecasts an £89 million turnover to end 2021. As specialists with trademarked designs across products in pressure ulcer prevention, safe moving and handling, specialist therapies, bathroom safety, as well as supplying contracted rental and servicing solutions, DHG enable a focus on patient care across any operational budget. The company also offers free, online training to ensure the best service for clinical and healthcare professionals.
More than 12,000 healthcare professionals have taken part since the launch of its online digital learning platform, which was developed by the group to complement existing nurse training and support district nurses and community care workers across the UK who struggled to find easy access to courses. A great proactive response to any potential risks which may occur.
Part of the LINET Group SE, LINET is a leading global supplier of hospital beds. Their success came from hospital bed innovations that have vastly improved the standards of healthcare in more than 100 countries worldwide. In addition to top-quality hospital and nursing care beds, mattresses, and other medical products, LINET prides itself on offering customers a range of additional services to help maximise technological and functional potential and safety of its users.
Alongside this, a wide range of innovative services, such as bed fleet optimisation, product operation training and education of non-doctor medical professionals is available as part of the service. During COVID, when the Czech government announced the construction of additional hospital space for 500 people, LINET was approached by the Prime Minister, Andrej Babis, to deliver hospital beds for the facility due to its recognisable reliability and healthcare innovation.
Its latest product innovation comes in the form of its Multicare X beds presented, after eight years research, at the prestigious annual International Symposium on Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (ISICEM) meeting. Its automatic lateral therapy (ALT) function allows professionals to position patients on the Multicare beds. Then, their latest functional imaging method, Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) aids observation of positioning in real time. The combination of these two innovative technologies simplifies difficult work for medical staff and enables individual optimisation of ventilation therapy for each patient.
When it comes to complex rehab and mobility, Invacare manufactures and distributes a comprehensive range of personal assistance products. Their mission to “Make Life’s Experiences Possible” aims to ensure patients can enjoy a comfortable, safe, and active lifestyle. Founded in 1885, they are now the global leader in home and long-term care medical products. As a leader in wheelchair assistance, Invacare ensures each of its sub brands heroes a specialism.
These sub brands provide everything from lightweight and premium manual chairs to high-tech active chairs, ambulatory and bathroom safety aids and top end sports chairs used by Paralympians in the 2020 Tokyo Games. Each brand utilises advanced biomedical engineering to design its products, and delves into the specific ergonomics, comfort, range, and durability required by its consumers and users to do so.
To ensure customers get the most out of their products and their 400+ customisable functions, Invacare offer a range of online and offline training tailored to the requirements of clinical, technical and commercial staff. A well-considered approach to ensure products meet health and safety expectations of both facilities and users.
Specialising in power assisted wheelchairs, Permobil was founded in 1967 by outspoken advocate for people with disabilities, Dr. Per Uddén. Driven by passion to find innovative solutions to problems he encountered as a doctor, Permobil was built on the outlook that every person has the right to the same technical standards.
After some exciting recent acquisitions, including Stockholm-based Panthera and Italian manufacturer Progeo, Permobil has now strengthened both its manual and active wheelchairs offerings. To this day, it strives to push the boundaries of technology and creativity and prides itself on improving quality of life through its products.
Drawing on design, engineering, digitalisation and clinical evidence, its holistic, customer-centric mindset saw it become the originator of life-changing devices such as the standing wheelchair. This, amongst others, has proven benefits for users including improved mental health, self-esteem, and ability to communicate and perform daily activities. This approach has seen Permobil grow from strength to strength and proves the true impact of preserving its founding philosophy – to “put the people who use our products first”.
In the wake of COVID, companies such as these have seen phenomenal demand and growth. Those mentioned are using innovation, not only in product but in training, and customer service too. This mindset sees them go from strength to strength, and I am looking forward to seeing the exciting innovations and expansion potential the market is set to see in coming years.
Are you interested in discussing the growth and opportunities in the patient handling and mobility market? Drop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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