Some UPEI engineering students have come up with an idea to make life a lot easier for patients and staff at the Provincial Palliative Care Centre.
The centre has new mobile stretchers that are used to transfer bed-ridden patients down the hall for their baths.
But staff soon noticed a problem. When the stretchers are pushed alongside of the bed, they’re supposed to overhang just above the mattress, so that patients can be gently rolled onto them.
However, the bottom of the stretchers are hitting the steel bed frames.
“The stretcher that’s used to bring a patient from the bed to a bath did not go all the way under the actual bed so that created tremendous difficulties for us,” said Dr. Mireille Lecours, provincial palliative care medical consultant.
So instead of being gently rolled onto the stretcher, the patient had to be lugged and pulled.
Laura Lee McCue is a nurse at the centre. She said all the lifting can be hard on her back, but it’s the patients that she worries about more.
Difficult for staff, difficult for patients
“They’re in pain, they’re sore, you see them grimacing, you see them uncomfortable,” she said.
“I just feel upset for the patients and wish we could do something better to make it easier on them.”
Almost on cue, a group of UPEI engineering students showed up.
Students help find solution
The School of Sustainable Design Engineering has partnered with more than 20 businesses and community groups to help solve real-world problems, and give students hands-on experience.
Second-year engineering student Dylan McKenna was among the group selected for this project.
The students only had $500 to work with, and came up with a few options. They finally settled on what appears to be a simple solution: build a new mobile platform for the mobile stretcher, with smaller wheels that fit under the bed frames.
“We’re really glad to get a solution done that would make the way of life better for the patients,” said McKenna.