Guest: John Bromberger
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Born in Sydney, John moved to England and returned to live in Perth. He started Pelican in 1986. A highlight of the company was appearing and winning the Viewers Award in the 2006 ABC television program ‘The New Inventors’. They take pride that many items in the Pelican range have been developed following customers’ suggestions or concerns regarding aspects of healthcare.
Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, we welcome returning guest John Bromberger of Pelican Manufacturing P/L based in Perth, Western Australia. He discusses infection control which is among their wide range of products that reach a global market. Among the infection control items that they offer are waterproof blankets, knee operating wedges, mattress extender blocks, heat sealed mattress, commode cushions, neck rolls, bed fall mats, as wells as ERCP positioning wedges and straps Pelican Manufacturing recognizes the importance of keeping especially to geriatric patients in nursing homes and hospitals. Their products saves nursing home staff time during the day as well as cutting down costs for their disposable items.
Health Professional Radio – Premier Nursing Goods Supplier
Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and my guest today joins me from Western Australia, John Bromberger, describes himself as being a humble manufacturer. He’s in fact the Managing Director of Pelican Manufacturing and he’s here to talk to us about infection control. John welcome to Health Professional Radio and tell us why do you say you’re a humble manufacturer.
John Bromberger: Well, I say that because we make a lot of things for hospitals and nursing homes and the health professionals there have spent many years at university learning about their professions and the problems and I get called in because they have a problem that they need help with. Talking about infection control today, they know all about the different bugs and what chemicals to use to get rid of those bugs, where we get involved in that is we make things that they use in the hospital and we wanted to try to prevent those things transmitting diseases or in the infection control way. And some of the things that we do is not what you may call a medical item but when you got a broken leg and you sit on the wheelchair and you got a board and you have one leg resting on the board, well they’re usually made out of wood when we’re making them out of plastic type material because infection control said in the wood you get scratches and dents and other things where bugs can hide. By making it out of the plastic, they can wipe it clean and they know it’s going to be clean. Another little thing that we’ve recently introduced, disposable tape measures and these are made out of paper, so they can wrap it around to somebody’s swollen leg or head or something like that. They don’t have to wipe it clean, they can throw it away. Do you follow me?
W: Yes, I do.
J: Another product, when you’re trying to put a bandage on somebody’s leg, you either got to suspend it from a hook or two people have to hold, one person has to hold the leg that we do a little leg-arm bandaging support and you put those underneath the leg and one person can put the bandage on. Now because that leg could be contaminated, we have a wipable vinyl cover on it, so they can just wipe it clean after doing that, you see?
W: It does sound like you’re very pragmatic designer, John.
J: Yeah, I get a bit of obsessed sometimes. We know we have available different materials, there are vinyl materials, there’s a polyurethane coated material which has a four way stretch. So depending what the product is if somebody’s gonna be sleeping in it or on top of it like a mattress then we may use a poly-type material. That’s got a bit of four way stretch in it is supposedly breathable and I always question, if it’s waterproof, how can it be breathable? But I likened that to your skin, your skin is waterproof that it can be breathable, it can sweat, you see? Obviously the vapors come out whereas if you have a vinyl that is waterproof and nothing will penetrate through it.
W: And it’s quite an extraordinary range of products you manufacture for hospitals.
J: Are you and I in infection control, the nature at the moment?
W: I’m not, actually I’m on just the Pelican list of products.
J: Well if you go down to infection control you’ll see there are things knee cushions that go between the knees, there’s commode cushions for sitting on, many things. When they do hip replacement we’ve got a special thing that looks a bit like a railway tunnel, so the patient on one side and one leg can be on top of the other leg, so they got access to the hip – that can be in heat sealed material. We do of little things or big things sometimes like bed steps and these are quite big steps for somebody getting into bed and it means that they can walk up one step which is only 10 cm high and then walk up the other one which is 20 cm high and they can sit on the bed and their bottom is in the middle of the bed. So it helps them that way and that’s heat sealed because they’re in bare feet and that kind of thing. Another unusual one we sell a lot of bedside sheets for turning people in bed butt we also make a plastic clear vinyl holder, so when the sheet isn’t being used they can put the sheet in the holder rather putting it next to the drapes on top of the covered where the patient is in bed, it means it’s kept separate from the other equipment as it were. Another variety is Bed Rail Protectors, now we make a quite few different designs of bed rail protectors that we do one which is used in the emergency department and that’s a hundred percent heat sealed so that they ca wipe it clean between the patients again because they’re difficult things to wash. We’re doing disposable items like Disposable Slings, we’ve got another one here, Neurological Head Holder and Firm Wedges, the…on their own and they can throw those away. I always think throwing things away is a bit of a waste if we could do it with a wipable cover on that should be better. That just remind me one very simple thing, Sand Bags are used a lot in operations for positioning arms or putting pressure on a wound or something like that, they’ve been around for years, but we do it with a heat sealed bag so you don’t get little grains of sand spilling out and it seems a bit ridiculous but we send Sand Bags over the New South Wales, there’s plenty of sand on the coast in New South Wales, I like to sell Sand Bags to Egypt but that hasn’t happened yet.
W: (Laughs) John, you have a sense of humor to go with your design sensibility. When you do look at your website there’s an extraordinary range of, what strikes me as being incredibly useful things for hospitals to have. Now you mentioned you send stuff to New South Wales, you send stuff Australia wide and New Zealand I think from memory.
J: Yeah, all over Australia. Some to New Zealand, some to America, England, Saudi Arabia, it’s not a big part of the business, I’d like to improve on it. It’s very difficult breaking into the different countries but we’re a quality endorsed company, we have some products that are registered with the TGA or in America with the FDA and a lot of them have got similar regulations ensure to do patient safety and we’re very concerned with patient safety of course but also we’re very concerned with the staff safety with manure handling. So we make a lot of manual handling products and even one of those products. The other day I was talking to someone and we make mattress handling sticks, now the mattress handling sticks because a lot of the mattresses nowadays do not have handles on them and we also make special mattresses without handles for a seclusion room and apparently the poor people who are in the seclusion room they can wee and poo on the floor because they don’t have the toilet in there, all they have is a mattress, they may have, we do blankets for them or like a doona very thick so they can’t tie it in knot strangle themselves that the mattress handle straps… I was talking to saying that when the cleaners go into clean the room, they got to pick up this mattress, which could be quite heavy and with a mattress handle straps they can pick it up and then can clean it down, clean the room and it’s good for them is not a hundred percent infection control but it’s used to clean up the room if you know what I mean. So that’s another area that we thought and talking seclusion rooms, I’m looking at trying to design a lounge chair completely made out of foam but with a waterproof cover that the patient has got something to sit on because at the moment these poor people they’ve only got a mattress whereas if they have like a lounge chair is got to be correctly designed so they can’t jump out of it quickly and attack a nurse that goes into the room. So there’s a few things we’re taking into consideration there as well. And also if you got five minutes, on our website we’ve got an introduction video that shows me not that I think I come…very well in there, but it shows around the factory and shows cutting foam and how we make plastic shapes and that kind of thing and that gives people a little bit of an insight of what we do.
W: Yes, speaking of the website John for people who do want to get in touch with you that’s www.pelicanmanufacturing all one word, pelicanmanufacturing.com.au. So for our listeners in America remember the .au and for our UK listeners remember .com not .co.au.
J: Yes. We do have .com as well and also if they go on there on the top there’s a Mailing List that they can join, because every few months we bring out another product and it may not be of interest to one area of nursing but it could be of interest to another area of nursing. So it’s just a quick video and we try to put a video there as well so that people can see the product in action.
W: And I do recommend having also the videos, it’s an extraordinary catalog that John’s created and for those of you who work in clinical practice do slip off to pelicanmanufacturing.com.au and you’ll find a vast range of useful things that you always wish someone would have invented and John Bromberger from Pelican Manufacturing has done that for you. John thank you for joining us today, it’s been a pleasure having you back on the program.
J: Thank you very much Wayne, all the best.
W: It’s our pleasure John, thank you for joining us. If you’ve missed my conversation with John Bromberger today, the good news is we do have on our website a transcript to the conversation, we also have a sound archive on both iTunes and on SoundCloud and you can listen to the interview there. John is a fascinating person to speak to and has over 30 years experience of making those very useful things that you’d wish someone had thought of. You’re listening to Health Professional Radio, my name is Wayne Bucklar. Thank you for being with us today.