Patients in elderly care wards are being encouraged to stay active and socialise during their hospital stay after specially designed mobile recliner chairs were purchased for the elderly people’s wards at Barnet Hospital.

Purchased with funds donated by Barnet Hospital Charity, the chairs allow older patients to spend more time out of bed thanks to their built-in pressure management cushions and adjustable back and leg rests.

The chairs were introduced as part of the trust’s ‘keep me mobile’ campaign, which calls on staff on elderly care wards to ensure that patients are encouraged to remain active during their hospital stay.

Lindsey McKenna, senior matron at Barnet Hospital, said: “The regular bedside chairs we had were not always functional for elderly patients and were possibly affecting their mobility and comfort. “We chose these chairs because they allow elderly patients to sit safely and in comfort. They also have wheels on so patients can move into the communal areas so they can socialise and take part in events such as tea parties or music sessions.

 “These kinds of activities are important, because when an elderly person comes into hospital we need to make sure we are not disrupting their usual mobility. We need to make sure patients are comfortable and they get the rest they need, but also we need to make sure they mobilise for a variety of health reasons. It helps them get back to their normal physical condition as quickly as possible.”

Marjorie Miles, 92, was one of the first patients to try out the new chairs at Barnet Hospital’s Larch ward after being admitted due to a fall. She said: “They’re quite comfortable and big enough for me to relax in. It’s important that we are able to get out of bed and do some exercise. You wouldn’t want to be in bed all day.”

Chris Burghes, chief executive of the Barnet Hospital Charity, said: “I’m delighted that the charity has been able to help Larch ward improve the care of its patients by helping them purchase these chairs. “The donations we receive allow us to help pay for things that are over and above what the NHS is required to provide, but which can make a real difference to patients’ experiences.”

Image: Marjorie Miles in one of the new chairs

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About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare.

The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver and kidney transplantation, haemophilia, renal care, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, Parkinson's disease, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.

In July 2014 Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital became part of the Royal Free London. Read 'A bigger trust, a better future'.