Two British hospitals are installing first of their kind wheelchair docking stations in partnership with the Israeli company that designed them, the UK Jewish News reported.
The wheelchair docking stations are build by Wheelshare, an Israeli company whose products “expand the freedom of movement via automatic stations for wheelchair rentals, meant for temporary users, like senior citizens and patients.”
The stations will be installed at the National Health Service’s (NHS) Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital and North Tyneside General Hospital.
The docking stations operate at all hours of the day and are free. They solve the issue of patients and visitors who need wheelchairs not being to find one when they need it.
Wheelshare’s Nir Tobis told the Jewish News that the common method that hospitals use to provide wheelchairs to patients and visitors is fraught with problems, including lack of availability and accessibility.
“Our innovative docking stations offer a user-friendly solution to all of this and we pride ourselves on providing a service that really makes a difference to patients, visitors and staff, ensuring that they can easily access a chair so that their visit to the hospital is as smooth as possible,” he said.
The company was started in 2017 to “provide an easy and simple solution to make wheelchairs accessible in both public and private places and meet the increasing need of mobilizing visitors who experience difficulties with movement.”
The company’s founder, Israel Kasirer, learned about the need for more accessible wheelchairs in hospitals when he witnessed a son being unable to find a wheelchair for his father who was receiving cancer treatment at a hospital. Even though he was assisted by staff, locating the wheelchair took “an implausible amount of time.”
Wheelshare installed its first wheelchair station in Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. Since then, they have put stations in 80 percent of Israeli hospitals.
They have also installed stations in outdoor settings such as the station in Rishon Lezion at Hof HaNechim Boardwalk.
The docking stations at both UK hospitals will come with a 24/7 maintenance helpline to make sure that any mechanical issues are promptly dealt with.
The stations will be used on a trial bases for the next year.