The General Hospital Murska Sobota is the first one in Slovenia richer for 12 mobile wheelchairs which enable the transport of people with minor injuries and elderly patients when they arrive to the ER.
In the hospital they often have trouble with the standard wheelchairs, just as in other healthcare institutions around Slovenia. The wheelchairs often become a property of individual hospital departments or they end up in the car trunks of the visitors. In European hospitals the problem has been solved with the help of the SAM wheelchairs, which got their name after the abbreviation for the sit and move system, which means that the immobile person also sits down, and they have already become a mandatory part of the hospital equipment.
The wheelchairs are present in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Great Britain, Spain, Norway, and Croatia. In Slovenia, the initiative for a patient- and their companion-friendly solution in Murska Sobota has been taken by Marija Zrim, MSc, Healthcare Manager of the ER, and Dejan Majc, MSc, MD, Spec. Internist, ER Manager. They proposed to the hospital management a new, modern, but also a patient-, family- or companion-friendly sustainable system of reception and treatment upon coming to the hospital.
“In the hospital we often have problems with the standard wheelchairs, their maintenance, cleaning and repairs. We often search for them all over the hospital, sometimes even in the parking lot, and they are not where we need them. The problem is cleaning of the seat covers, frequent tyre, hand- and backrest repairs. Thus the wheelchair after a few weeks of regular use is not in perfect condition anymore, and it is also unsafe for use.
We have been searching for a solution for quite some time. We saw an opportunity in the SAM wheelchairs, which are durable, have a braking system and wheels for driving around our external units, which are not part of the main hospital. The wheelchairs are easy to clean and they enable use control (with coins like the shopping carts). We are satisfied with the wheelchairs because they save us time, are durable, they drive more smoothly. They are also a bit higher and have a better backrest,“ said Marija Zrim, MSc, Healthcare Manager of the ER of the General Hospital Murska Sobota, about the new acquisition.
The wheelchairs are easy to clean and they enable use control (with coins like the shopping carts). We are satisfied with the wheelchairs because they save us time, are durable, they drive more smoothly. They are also a bit higher and have a better backrest.
The SAM wheelchair following the example of a shopping cart
In comparison with the ordinary wheelchairs, the SAM wheelchairs follow the shopping cart principle. The wheelchair is strong yet light, with an automatic brake, which enables a higher safety when transporting a patient. The SAMs are available at the specially organized parking station in exchange for a coin or token, and are returned to the station by the user.
The frame of the wheelchair is made of stainless steel entirely, without a single screw, the sitting part is made from special polyurethane foam which ensures comfortable sitting. The seat is fixed at the optimal sitting height, which enables the patient to stand up more easily. Due to their structure, the wheelchairs can be stored outside in all weather conditions, and can be cleaned in the sterilization unit. The wheelchair is not collapsible, thus preventing being stolen by the visitors, and it can be equipped with a navigation system, making it completely traceable.
We are doing our best to make the SAM wheelchairs a Slovenia-wide project, following the example from abroad, where patients and elderly people with a companion can use such wheelchairs at airports, in parking houses close to the hospitals and in shopping centres.
The novelty has been brought to the Slovenian market by the Medis company with the help of the German company Provita: “The illness which brings us to the hospital, also brings insecurity and fear. Visiting any healthcare institution is especially stressful if we have trouble moving and every step is accompanied by pain and a need for a companion. We believe that other hospital centres around Slovenia will follow the example of the General Hospital Murska Sobota,” said the CEO of the Medis company, Martina Perharič. “We are doing our best to make the SAM wheelchairs a Slovenia-wide project, following the example from abroad, where patients and elderly people with a companion can use such wheelchairs at airports, in parking houses close to the hospitals and in shopping centres.