All hospices have to deal with the difficult aspect of patient death. This is not only a difficult time for relatives, but also hospice staff. A question that is often asked is whether the deceased patient needs to be cooled? 2011 NHS/hospice guidance for staff responsible for care after death states the body of a deceased person needs to be cooled ideally within four hours. Historically this has only been possible through mortuary refrigerators or cold rooms, but the new guidance recognises the use of cold beds and blankets as an effective alternative.
So what are these new cold bed systems and how can they help? Flexmort are behind these innovative cooling products which overcome previous technological hurdles and now provide an alternative and simpler method of cooling.
Flexmort’s new technology – the history
In 2010, Flexmort was formed through a University of Warwick Science Park programme to initially address the problem of cooling bariatric deceased in NHS hospitals. The problem was that within NHS hospitals, patients were more frequently reaching 40-70 stone (250kg to 445kg) and they presented considerable manual handling problems when they died. Deceased patients could not be easily moved from the bed and were also too large to fit into mortuary refrigerators. Flexmort’s innovation was the development of the CoverCool system, which effectively cooled the deceased patient whilst they were still on a hospital bed.
View the video of Simon introducing Flexmort at the UK National Funeral Exhibition 2013.
Together For Short Lives (the leading charity for UK children’s palliative care) saw this CoverCool technology at a UK Funeral show and highlighted an opportunity for using the technology to cool deceased children (and also adults) within hospice beds or at home. At around the same time, SANDS saw the benefits of a very small system for cooling deceased babies. As a result, in 2011 Flexmort developed the CoverCool Mini system and CuddleCot.
These innovative products have made cooling of the deceased in hospices or in the home simple, and bereavement professionals have found they assist relatives in the bereavement process. But before we explore these new systems, let’s address the question of whether the deceased really need to be cooled in hospices?
Next – we look at the issue of cooling, and focus on how CoverCool works…