By Charlotte Prong Parkhill
Kitchener Post staff
Annette Gordon has helped hundreds, if not thousands, of patients safely discharge from Grand River Hospital. Now this volunteer has a new tool that makes her job easier.
The front entrance of the hospital has just been equipped with 21 new transport wheelchairs with additional safety and convenience features.
The innovative chairs are easy to clean and have replaceable seat covers. They stack together like grocery carts, saving space in the busy reception area.
The chair can’t be used unless someone is pushing it. The handle at the back is similar to the one found on a lawnmower.
The arms and leg rests are all permanently attached, but easily move out of the way when a patient is transferring from bed to chair or from chair to their car.
The detachable parts of the older chairs were often cannibalized for other chairs.
“Missing parts — that was always a struggle,” said Sandy Osmond, customer service specialist at the hospital.
“I love the wheels. They turn on a dime,” Gordon said.
“But the biggest thing for me is getting right up beside their cars, and not having to go around the front and put the brakes on, or detach the leg rests.”
The decision to purchase the chairs was made by a committee that considered issues from housekeeping and maintenance to patient safety and infection prevention.
Hospital spokesperson Mark Karjaluoto thanks the community for their assistance in purchasing the new chairs.
“Donations to the Grand River Hospital Foundation helped to pay for this first round of wheelchairs, so we definitely owe the community our thanks for their help with this,” he said.