What happens when a chemotherapy patient complains and medical staff listens? The answer is a unique, innovative chemo treatment chair designed for patient comfort, ease of use, and made with user-friendly features for both patients and care providers. Then make a style that looks and feels like home, yet covered with a soft anti-bacterial, anti-microbial like vinyl. That’s what happens!
Here is the rest of the story. Bill Mork is a two-time cancer survivor. A colon cancer resection in February 2001 was followed in August 2005 by surgery for colon cancer in his lung. He then opted for chemotherapy beginning in October 2005 and successfully completed in April 2006.
Mr. Mork is not one to complain. He is one to voice his opinion especially when furniture is involved. Bill owns a Marshfield-based furniture manufacturing company which specializes in high-quality upholstered sofas, loveseats, chairs, sofa sleepers, and recliners. His company sells to over one thousand home furnishings retailers throughout the United States. Marshfield Furniture is a quiet contributor to the community. The company was recently honored as a Wisconsin Manufacturer of the year and has received National recognition for the United States Chamber of Commerce as a “Blue Chip Enterprise”. Marshfield’s success is founded on innovative products, high quality, and just in time manufacturing. This said, how does a 65+-year-old residential furniture manufacturer meet the needs of the Marshfield Clinic Oncology Department?
“Five hours seated in an uncomfortable recliner during my first infusion was all I needed to experience. I knew we could make a better product,” said Mork. “I may be in the clinic; however, I feel as though I’m sitting in a church pew or on a park bench. This chemo infusion process needs a comfort infusion.”
Then he asked the staff questions. How often are these recliners used? How are they cleaned and how often? What do patients say about them? What would make patients more comfortable? What do you (the nurses) need? What if the recliner did this or had that? More questions, more answers and more ideas carne forth.
Bill met with Darlene Plaph and Darla Viegut, managers of Oncology/Hematology at Marshfield Clinic. He had research on anti-microbial, antibacterial hospital grade vinyl and formulated a recliner design. He proposed providing a trial recliner. From the first design came staff suggestions for improvements and additional features.
“We came up with at least ten unique features for patient and staff in a comfortable, residential look yet hospital/clinic appropriate recliner,” said Mork. “An infusion every two weeks gave me real life experience with the recliner. I share a concern for patients, as does the oncology staff. I hope our mutual efforts add comfort to the ordeal of chemo treatment.”