Wednesday, March 27, 2019

New parent sleeper chairs make hospital stays more restful

Holland Bloorview family leader Lies Ferriman was one of a group of parents who tested out the chairs, which pull into beds, at the factory. She remembers sleeping on a narrow cot with pointy springs when her son was hospitalized at our old Bloorview site.

By Louise Kinross

Seventy-five new sleeper chairs for parents staying at their child’s bedside at Holland Bloorview are being purchased thanks to dollars raised by our recent Capes for Kids campaign and the Leaside Block Party.

The first 50 chairs, at a cost of over $80,000, are on site, and the remaining 25 will be ordered in April.

The chairs, which pull out into beds, were factory tested by parents before a selection was made.

“I couldn’t get comfortable when I slept on the cots at the old Bloorview site,” says Lies Ferriman, a parent whose son was hospitalized with a brain injury. “And the more recent red chairs we had were just as narrow.”

There was also a fold in the red chairs that jabbed into your back. “It was awful,” Lies says. “When you aren’t able to sleep in this situation, it creates such a weariness.” Over the years, parent complaints about sleepless nights piled up.

The new sleeper chairs are much wider and longer than the old ones, with good back support and softer material. “Every patient bed will have one,” said Irene Simpson, operations manager for two of our hospital units.

The grant submission for the new chairs was written by family leader Cheryl Peters and Aman Sium, director of Client and Family Integrated Care. It included an appendix with quotes from parents about how lack of sleep made it difficult for them to cope. “The emotional fatigue…can be crippling, and then add the physical fatigue from a poor night’s sleep,” wrote one. “If more comfortable sleeper beds were available, better rested caregivers might lead to less stress on the unit. Fatigue can lead to poor listening and decision-making skills.”

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Foundation is still fundraising for some of the beds.

In addition, Capital One purchased relaxation kits for each family, and worked with our foundation to assemble them.

The kits include a pillow, sheet set, eye mask, ear plugs and other items designed to make parents comfortable.

Much sweeter dreams are on the way.