Posted on 8 May 2003
[The daughter of Sharjah based Mr. Nishan Basmajian developed a new medical device. Azad-Hye]
Moving bedridden patients can literally be a pain in the back for nurses and carers but scientists have developed a device which could help. Patients have to be turned to prevent them developing pressure sores. It also helps stimulate circulation, and can be particularly helpful for people with pneumonia, because it helps shift mucus in their lungs.
But nurses in particular can have to move many bedridden patients - one study suggested up to 50 in one eight-hour shift.
The new device, which looks a little like a giant cigarette roller, helps turn patients without either them or the person turning them hurting their backs.
It has been developed by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, America, and safety trials are planned before it is tested in hospitals.
It is hoped patients will prefer it because they stay in contact with the bed while they are being turned, making it less distressing for them than existing mechanisms.
The device works by sliding a portable frame around the bed, attaching the sides of the sheets and starting to wind the electric motors which are built into the frame.
The sheet then moves, lifting and turning the patient.
Software is used to control which way the patient tilts by pulling the sheet one way or the other.
It is also designed to ensure a smooth rolling motion.
Using the sheet also means the patient's weight is well-distributed.
Arin Basmajian, who led the team which developed the device said it was better than existing devices which could be expensive and bulky.
But Carol Bannister, an occupational health adviser for the Royal College of Nursing, questioned whether the roller frame would work on sheets which were not brand new.
"Hospitals launder sheets at 100 °C and people urinate on them day in day out.
She said there was a high risk of an accident if a sheet tore.
However, Dr Basmajian maintained even old cotton sheets would be strong enough, especially since the patient always maintained some contact with the bed when being rolled.
Karen Penny, of the back pain charity BackCare, stated that lifting a person was difficult and lifting devices could help.
She added the new device could benefit both those lifting and the patients, for whom being hoisted was not a particularly dignified experience.