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SPSC17: Allied health professionals and engineers collaborate to develop healthcare solutions

31 October 2017 - 4:50pm

An associate professor with a nursing and midwifery background and a product designer have joined forces to use medical technologies to help patients live independently.

students at Scottish conference 2017

Students at the conference heard how technology can help find healthcare solutions

Liz Adamson of the School of Health and Social Care at Napier University Edinburgh and Will Titley from the university’s School of Arts and Creative Industries are collaborating on the SOLUTION project.

They presented details of the project at the Scottish Physiotherapy Student Conference 2017 (SPSC17), held in Edinburgh on 28 October.

Ms Adamson explained that she leads a team of allied health professionals, academics, researchers and interns who aim to find practical solutions to healthcare problems.

‘We recognise that some of the equipment patients use is not fit for purpose so we are utilising the multidisciplinary experience to help solve this and a compassionate user-centred approach,’ she said.

Their work focuses on several projects including the development of an eye medication device to assist rheumatoid arthritis patients who find getting eye drops in difficult, and a communication aid for patients who have experienced stroke.

Eye drops

Delegates heard about one of Ms Adamson’s case studies, which involved a young girl who could not comply with putting in her eye drops.

An advisory board of field experts and people who use eye drops themselves are guiding and monitoring the project and Ms Adamson is liaising with the family, carers, school staff, occupational therapists and physios.

There has also been collaboration with charities such as the Royal National Institute of Blind People, which offered to host sessions for the bespoke training of volunteers.

Ventilation device

Mr Titley also gave an example of designing a device to carry a ventilator that can be attached to someone who is mobile and has assisted respiratory needs.

‘The patient had been practically tugging it around on a skateboard with her throat. We observed what she needed and built a prototype device on wheels with hard tethers to stop it when she stopped and printed a 3D model from cardboard,’ he said.

‘We collected feedback from the family, carers and allied health professionals. There are 200 children in the UK using home ventilation, so we hope this will help more children.

‘We broke all the rules by not making this commercial, saving costs, but it could be a commercial project.’

A delegate asked if a backpack had been considered. It was, but was too heavy and this made the patient breathless.

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