Tiny beds provided a poor night's sleep for two parents, but that was the only downside to a recent stay in Taranaki's new hospital.
When Dee Welch, of Waitara, spent a night in the children's ward at Taranaki Base Hospital recently with her daughter, she resorted to putting the mattress on the floor in order to get comfortable.
"It was absolutely horrendous," she said.
She said the bed, with a width of 48cm, folded down from the wall, and the fixed design limited the space available.
A standard domestic single bed is 188cm long and 91cm wide.
"You're right up against the wall so you can't hang over the side," the mother of three said.
But Taranaki District Health Board nursing manager Leonie Mercer said the primary focus on the children's ward was the care provided to the child or young person being treated.
"We do our best to accommodate the parent or caregiver in our ward," she said.
Ms Mercer said all the rooms complied with Australasian standards and requirements around patient safety.
"Not all bed spaces have the pull-down beds, and four spaces still have the La-Z-Boy chairs to sleep on, similar to the old ward," she said.
Four bed spaces in the children's ward have mattresses measuring 48cm, nine beds have mattresses at 68cm, and the oncology parent bed has a mattress measuring 72cm, because parents tend to stay there longer.
Additional facilities for parents include a beverage bay and laundry, and soon there will be a lounge.
Pip Johnson, of Oakura, had a similar experience with the small fold-down bed when her son Charlie had to stay overnight following an operation on his broken arm in late August.
She said the bed "personally was a bit narrow" and she ended up taking refuge in one of the unoccupied recliner chairs in the room.
However, during a second stint at the hospital a few weeks later following her son's admittance for acute appendicitis, Mrs Johnson slept in one of the larger beds, which measured 68cm, sited in the single patient rooms.
"In that bed, I slept beautifully," she said.
Despite this, both women were extremely grateful for the support and care they and their children had received from staff on the ward.
"The nurses and doctors were fantastic," Mrs Welch said.
This was echoed by Mrs Johnson, who said tea and coffee facilities and other home comforts available to parents were also appreciated.
"The setup is really brilliant," she said.
Deena Coster is a Witt journalism student.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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