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The Children’s Assessment and Treatment Unit at Leeds Children’s Hospital is a busy 24-hour unit that sees around 100 patients every day. The unit assesses children aged up to 16 who are acutely unwell after being referred by their GP or the emergency department. Patients may stay on the unit for up 48 hours before they are either discharged home or admitted to an inpatient ward. The unit has 22 beds for young patients but there is a severe shortage of chair beds for parents. This means that parents, who must always accompany their children, have no place to sleep or rest while their child is on the unit.

Parents experience substantial stress while their child is receiving care on the unit. There is the anxiety and uncertainty of not knowing how ill their child is, if they will need inpatient care, and how any hospital stay will impact on other areas of life. It is extremely important that parents are able to adequately rest so their ability to support their child is not compromised.

The unit needs four chair beds and six compact manual recliners. The chair bed can be quickly transformed from a chair into a bed and is ideal for families who are likely to remain on the unit for more than 24 hours. The recliner is more suitable for resting comfortably in tighter spaces. Both types are designed to withstand continuous use and comply with infection control guidelines. It is estimated that they will last at least five years and will be used extensively on a daily basis, benefiting a minimum of 20,000 people in this period.

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“Infections of the central nervous system need urgent and appropriate treatment. Most laboratory methods can take from 24 to 48 hours for diagnosis of bacterial meningitis and three to seven days for diagnosis of viral meningitis or encephalitis. The new equipment will mean we can get results of these tests in around an hour. We’ll be able to inform the clinicians of a positive result, allowing targeted therapy and reassurance to the patients and families. Just as important is the reporting of negative results, which may enable treatment withdrawal and possibly a shorter hospital stay.”

Dr Pradeep Subudhi
Consultant Microbiologist
Royal Bolton Hospital

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