West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, UK comprises of three hospitals, employs around 4000 members of staff, serves a catchment population of around 500,000 and receives over 1million visitors each year. Lyn Anderson is the Mortuary Manager and tells of her experiences with the CuddleBlanket body cooling system (also known as CoverCool).
“The CuddleBlanket system makes such a positive difference to the services our Trust provides and there are two instances which for me provide excellent examples. Firstly, the cooling of a bariatric (obese) deceased patient weighing almost 256kg (40 stone) in the mortuary and secondly, the cooling of a deceased patient where the family wished to stay with the body on a bed for three days on religious grounds.
Bariatric admissions to the mortuary are an increasing issue, not only for the physical storage practicalities, but also in manual handling and injury related risks. Previously, we would spend a considerable amount of time trying to deal with bariatric cadavers, but with the CuddleBlanket system, all we need to do is place the cooling pads on the body, place the insulation cover over the top and switch on the machine. There is no additional moving and lifting, no parts to construct and no problems with fridge space.
The CuddleBlanket system enabled us to provide the same care, dignity and preservation that has previously only been possible for admissions of people under 200kg and in this instance, allowed us to preserve the cadaver for one week without transfer out of the hospital.
The second example involves a patient who died on the Stroke Ward
at the hospital and for religious reasons, the family wished to stay with the body on the ward throughout the Friday night. This was outside of usual hospital policy but we recognise that we must be flexible in our approach in helping relatives deal with their religious and cultural beliefs.
The side room on the ward was incredibly warm and there were understandable concerns regarding the deterioration of the body overnight. We set up the CuddleBlanket system and placed the cooling pad on the deceased and the insulated blanket over the top leaving the head exposed.
The family stayed with the deceased all night and the deceased’s body temperature was kept low and preserved until she was transferred from the ward to the mortuary Saturday morning. This really allowed us to provide an exceptional service for the family while preserving the body in a dignified manner.
Flexmort are always very helpful, friendly and provide us with excellent customer service and their products have been of great benefit to the Trust.”