Solving problems through innovation
Comprised of a slide sheet with an inflatable inner bladder and a remote-control pump, the AirLift works by gently inflating to place a layer of air between the patient and the bed. By folding the device prior to fitting it under a patient, it can switch between assisting with three of the most common patient movements – rolling, sitting up and translations.
“The AirLift’s pneumatic capabilities remove the need to physically lift the patient and reduce the force required to translate them around the bed. This in turn improves the experience for the patient, as they are being repositioned on a cushion of air, instead of being dragged around on a sheet,” Singh said.
Davidson said that the idea to use pneumatics came about not in the studio but on a camping trip, while inflating a dry bag.
“Realising the potential, we modified an inflatable lounge so that it could comfortably reposition a human, which served as our initial proof of concept,” he said.
Collaborating with industry
Surveying nurses, consulting experts in the field and a consistent feedback process through the Safeness by Design studio helped the team refine their concept and work through issues along the way.
Carrig said that industry insights helped overcome their biggest challenge – designing a slide sheet that gave greater consideration for a healthcare worker’s age and movements while maintaining patient safety.
“The collaboration with WorkSafe provided great insight and feedback in regard to designing for the ageing workforce, which we also took on board,” Carrig said.
Another considerable challenge was not to do with the design, but circumstance.
“The initial research and ideation was all completed within a 2021 lockdown with limited access to materials, few opportunities for in person observation of industry practices and no workshop access,” Carrigg said.
“To deal with this, we reached out to members of the healthcare community and industry experts to draw on their expertise and guidance.”