Low effort patient handling devices.
Thesis DisciplineMechanical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Engineering
With an aging population there is a growing need to assist people with disabilities. Particularly crucial is assisting people who cannot stand between positions necessary for everyday living, such as from a wheelchair to the toilet. It is unsafe to transfer people with direct manual techniques, thus a patient handling device is required.
To reduce the burden on the healthcare system it is beneficial for disabled people to be cared for in-home. Many in-home caregivers may be physically impaired, thus patient handling devices for this use must require as little effort as possible.
This thesis found that existing manual patient handling devices contained significant weaknesses when used for in-home care and there is potential to improve upon them. Expert interviews, computer modelling and physical models were used to develop a novel patient handling device which addresses these identified weaknesses. A reduction in the number of operator tasks, operation time and operation force was achieved.
A method of supporting the patient solely by their upper body is required by the novel patient handling device, though an acceptable way of incorporating this has yet to be achieved. Testing of an upper body enclosure support revealed that a person may be supported by their lower thorax without substantial clamping or physical effort from the patient. Such a support has potential to be developed into an acceptable solution. Further development and testing in variable conditions encountered during practical patient handling is required.