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Lifting paediatric services to new heights

  • Angela May

Youngsters in Kent are experiencing a ‘real difference’ in the way they can access health services, through an integrated approach to how all involved use the facilities.


NHS Property Services, on behalf of Medway Community Healthcare, Medway Council and Medway Foundation NHS Trust, has converted a former school into a state of the art Child Development Centre- Snapdragons Centre. 

Part of the £3m project has been the installation of six ceiling track hoists in treatment rooms and care facilities, plus a mobile changing bench and height adjustable basin in toilet facilities, all supplied by Britain’s leading deliverer of intimate independence, Closomat. 

The hoists mean that children and young people who are not mobile can be moved easily, safely, and with dignity, without exposing their families, carer and Centre staff to risk of injury through manual handling.

The height adjustable basin and changing bench ensure that the whole ambit of toileting requirements are addressed: the washbasin can be set to suit wheelchair users, adults and children, whilst the changing bench enables young people with continence issues who are using the Centre to be cleaned and changing in an hygienic environment. 

“The aim of Snapdragons Centre is to bring together in one place specialist clinical services for children and young people with a range of disabilities, in a purpose-built facility delivered to a high specification and standard,” explained Claire Haymes, Closomat away from home/lifting specialist. “By including fittings such as the hoists, users accessing the Centre’s services can relax, knowing there are appropriate means for transfer from wheelchair to treatment tables, or wherever needed for therapeutic intervention. 

“By also adding the changing bench and height-adjustable basin, the building is totally accessible for all potential users, and addresses all their needs whilst they are there- including intimate, personal care (toileting).” 

Adds Robin Tuffley, Closomat marketing manager, “The number of children with special needs, disabilities, has increased over 60% in the past 25 years: 1 child in 20 under the age of 16 is disabled, so there is a growing need for facilities such as Snapdragon. The hoists will be an invaluable addition to delivering a safe, quality environment. 

“Building regulations focus very much on the need to provide changing facilities for babies: NHS Property Services is, at Snapdragons, being forward-thinking in realising that many of the Centre’s users require similar toileting support, but have grown beyond being able to fit on, and be lifted onto, a baby change.”

Closomat Limited, Building 1, Brooklands Place, Brooklands Road, Sale Cheshire, M33 3SD