“Offering patients a distraction from their time in hospital is a vital benefit for their mental health and feeling of well-being. We recognised the importance of this and believe it will make a considerable difference for patients and staff. The project was ongoing throughout 2020, but the COVID-19 crisis accelerated work to help those who were no longer able to have visits from loved ones."
In 2020 the Trust appointed WiFi SPARK to deliver a patient entertainment solution to the entirety of the Trust. The solution is called SPARK® Media and enables anyone in the Trust to access Freeview TV on a device of their choice, be it a tablet, smartphone or laptop, free of charge.
In addition to TV, patients, staff and visitors can also access digitised magazines, daily updated newspapers and listen to hospital radio free of charge. To support those who do not have their own device, the Trust purchased a number of tablets to loan to patients who need them. SPARK® Media can easily be accessed on these devices and can be erased of patient data seamlessly between uses.
Working alongside the Patient Entertainment Platform is WiFi SPARK's 24/7/365 Service Desk. On hand to answer any queries either from the customer or the end user, the Service Desk works to alleviate any extra pressure on staff through the adoption of a new patient entertainment platform.
A solution that has the opportunity to save Bedford's patients
+£570k over the year
- Competitors charge patients £7.90 per day for use of their patient entertainment platform.
- This only provided access to four hours of television a day, outbound calls, and internet and audiobooks, to name a few features.
- If even half of the 400 beds in the hospital had been using their bedside entertainment terminals, competitor providers would have seen a revenue of £576,700 per annum from Bedfordshire's patients.
With WiFi SPARK, there is no patient expense.
Since the beginning of 2021 almost all of the 400 beds on site have enjoyed the SPARK® Media package including the targeted offerings such as BBC Reminiscence and BBC Music Media Archives for those with dementia, on top of our selection of other services. But the service doesn’t stop with the patients, every area of the hospital including waiting rooms, staff quarters and out-patient housing is covered by the packing meaning everyone benefits from SPARK® Media.
Much of the inspiration for a renewed patient entertainment system came from Bedford Hospital Charity & Friends. Deborah Inskip, Chairman of the charity noted that "as the hospital was no longer providing bedside radio or TV, we realised that some of the older patients, who are more likely to frequent the hospital, are also less likely to carry their own devices and would be unable to access any music or light entertainment during their stay. Together with Hospital Radio Bedford, we encouraged a real 'bringing back' of radio and entertainment to the wards. The charity will provide more devices for loan to patients once we have had the chance to assess the need. It is great news that this facility is now available".
History of Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Bedford Hospital is a 400-bed general district hospital serving North and mid Bedfordshire, located in the English town of Bedford. The hospital is run by Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Trust was formed in April 2020; consisting of a merger between Bedford Hospital NHS Trust and Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Bedford Hospital was founded by the brewer Samuel Whitbread after he posthumously donated £8,000 in his will for establishing the hospital in 1796. Opened just seven years after his passing in 1803, Bedford has since grown to include paediatric, maternity and gynaecology wards. More recently the hospital added The Primrose Centre for cancer patients, a pathology units, surgical assessment unit, endoscopy unit and The Weller Wing for psychiatric services.
In 2016 the Trust outlined its Sustainability and Transformation Plan. Amongst its five priorities were two technological aims:
- Technology - 'Transform our ability to communicate with each other, e.g. by having shared digital records that can be easily accessed by patients and clinicians alike, using mobile technology such as mobile phones for better coordinated care'.
- System redesign - 'Transforming the way we plan, buy and manage health and social care services across Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes to achieve a joined up approach that places people's health and wellbeing at the heart of what we do'.
Adopting a digital future can streamline all aspects of the Trust including administrative duties, meal ordering, patient entertainment and much much more. As WiFi SPARK continues to evolve it will encourage its customers to do the same but in a way that best suits the customer and the needs of the end user.