More than 25,700 patients receive dialysis every year in Britain and the National Kidney Federation predicts this number will rise to 40,000 by 2018.
Across the world, some two million people are on dialysis to clean their blood of impurities that build up as a result of kidney failure and, again, experts suggest that number that is likely to double over the coming decade.
As a result, Suffolk-based treatment couch manufacturer Plinth 2000 has experienced a sudden upturn in demand for a purpose-designed dialysis chair, both within the UK and from across the Middle East, the world’s fourth largest import market for kidney dialysis equipment.
In response, the company has now revised and updated an earlier successful model and introduced its new 93 DC Dialysis Chair, designed with patient comfort and safety in mind during prolonged dialysis treatment.
It incorporates contoured memory foam cushions, an extremely stable steel platform, adjustable armrests and footboard, and electric hand controls for the patient and clinician.
Plinth 2000 originally partnered with Baxter Healthcare, the global company that develops products and therapies to improve the lives of people with life-threatening conditions like kidney disease, in the development of a dialysis chair for equipping several renal units. Since the product was designed and engineered to last and the contract was duly fulfilled, there was little follow-up demand until a recent influx of enquiries arising out of the Arab Health Exhibition and the firm’s other export activities. The company has also put a chair out on trial in this country with a view to securing a potential order.
Dialysis is described by The Economist in one of its market analyses as ‘among medicine’s least loved treatments, both to endure and to administer, with patients having to be hooked up to a machine for hours at a time, every few days’. Yet with the number of patients growing fast all over the world with a growing proportion of health spending is now being devoted to treating kidney failure, increasing by about 50% in recent years.
Although sometimes overlooked, a fully-functional dialysis chair is an important piece of ancillary equipment, since most patients require three treatment sessions a week, each lasting at least four hours, according to NHS Choices. Moreover, as most people who need to have dialysis are aged over 65 years, and an increasing number are morbidly obese, the need for optimum comfort and stability is clearly paramount.
Plinth 2000’s new chair meets that market requirement with its robust powder-coated steel frame, mounted on the company’s single-lift mechanism. It has a safe working load of 225kgs (35 stones), is able to lift patients from 500mm to 1000mm maximum height, with an additional Trendelenburg tilt function of 17°. The three-section top has MRSA and fire-resistant, washable vinyl upholstery and standard dimensions of 1960mm long x 700mm wide, although there is an extra-wide 780mm option for bariatric duties. For prolonged comfort, it is fitted with 75mm-deep memory foam cushions, which mould themselves to the body in minutes, then recover their original shape.
Multi-positional, foldaway arm supports, adjustable backrest and leg sections, and a sliding footboard help to make long-term dialysis treatment more comfortable, and handheld controls enable virtually-limitless sitting and lying positions. There are four motors for precise electronic adjustment of the chair’s profile, with a choice of three- and two-motor chairs at lower prices, and battery back-up is an optional accessory. The adjustable armrest provides support for the arm during treatment, with an IV pole and fixing bracket also available, and either side folds back for easy wheelchair access. The whole structure is supported on 125mm diameter heavy duty castors, fitted with central locking for stability in use.
To suit hospital and clinic décor standards, and give the dialysis chair a more pleasing appearance, the high-grade leathergrain vinyl upholstery is offered in a choice of 18 colours. Plinth 2000’s characteristic streamlined design and quality components also make the chair suitable for domestic settings, its reliable electrical operation helping to relieve tension during home haemodialysis.
Priced from £2,175 for the four-motor chair, £1,990 for the three-motor model and £1,805 for the two-motor version, the 93 DC Dialysis Chair is also suitable for blood donation, phlebotomy, infusion and oncology duties.
It comes with a five-year unconditional parts warranty and, being British made, it is backed by an extensive selection of spares for minimal downtime. There is also an upholstery replacement service, eliminating the risk of cross-contamination and bringing the chair instantly back to as-new condition.