Children are a vulnerable group who have an increased susceptibility to infection.
Infection control therefore has a particularly important role in paediatric hospitals and must take into account the needs and environment of the paediatric patient. Children are susceptible to infections that are prevented in older patients by vaccination or previous natural exposure.
In particular children are at risk of infections such as respiratory virus infections, rotavirus (severe diarrhoea) and pertussis (cough); These represent persistent challenges in children's hospitals. In the main these infections are carried through:
Which is the most important and frequent mode of transmission of nosocomial infections, from beds, furniture and hospital staff: many people touch the bed and furniture including family member’s, medical staff, nursing, physio, occupational therapists and many more, potentially cross infecting as they go.
Occurs when droplets are generated from the source person mainly during coughing, sneezing, and talking, and during the performance of certain procedures such as bronchoscopy. Transmission occurs when droplets containing germs from the infected person are propelled a short distance through the air and deposited on the host's body or equipment. Products therefore in this vulnerable area, need to be easy to clean with no areas to harbour potentially damaging infection.
Safety for the child and their carers
In the Paediatric environment, safety is a huge priority, products that are stable transportable and easy to use are of critical importance, children are often moved from ward to ward or clinical area to clinical area for test procedures or for their general care, the risk to the care giver if required to transport large bulky pieces of equipment is huge.
In addition the need to provide a safe platform for the child is important they need to be easily observed by the clinical staff in a busy ward area, but require to be in a bed with safe side rails to prevent both entrapment of little limbs as well as prevent falls from the bed or cot. In any product design the need for falls prevention and observation is key.
Many children are relatively small but some can be large, heavy, difficult, or too sick to move on the platform, it is a critical fact in this scenario to have the ability to mobilise the patient on the surface safely and effectively - not only focused on reducing the risk of injury to the child but also to reduce the risk of injury to the care giver, who may move children hundreds of times a day. (Safe height, safe movement, safe sides, safe to move)
Safe skin and comfort – On any surface for any patient, the skin is a critical element in care. Skin is the largest organ in a patient’s body and as such should be kept intact at all times, products that easily allow a safe sitting position for the child, with a good quality foam surface, will ensure the safety of the skin at all times
The Critically ill child
In the critical care arena where children’s immune systems are more challenged, there are more invasive procedures to aid in the child’s care and potentially more exposure to infections.
These children can often be impossible to move by hand due to haemodynamic instability, but will require moving for physiological as well as clinical reasons, it is well documented that to prevent ventilator associated Pneumonia a head up position of 30 degrees should be adopted, also following a head injury a head up position of 15 - 30 degrees will help maintain a low ICP.
These children need constant and clear observation during their stay in ICU, our focus on product design has allowed this to be achieved.
Many of these children will be having a range of medication administered carefully depending on their body weight. Without the ability to weigh the child on the bed, may requires handling which could put the carer at risk of back injury or may cause extubation risk for the child.