On the 13th of June 2022 we were invited down to the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton to review and discuss the prototype and get feedback from the physiotherapists and nurses who will be using this chair in paediatric intensive care units.
We gained a lot from this opportunity. Most importantly the visit reinforced our primary reason for undertaking this project, which is the need for the chair. The physios and nurses that we spoke to emphasised that they would hugely benefit from being able to access a product like this and it would improve the quality of life of many of the children they treat. The current devices being used, such as the Bee Chair, are too difficult to set up and clean and require multiple nurses to get children into and out of the chair. What our chair would do is enable the children to have some real needed respite and family time without the hassle and difficulty in placing them in an external chair. As you can see from the images, the benefit of our chair is that it does fit nicely into the paediatric cot, so the children would not have to move. This is important because most of the children using this chair will be connected to multiple tubes and ventilators, making the move to any external chair very distressing. Our chair will also make the lives of the nurses and physios easier as it would provide a smoother transition from rest to upright play time as the chair will just slide into the bed.
The nurses and physios we spoke to provided us with a lot of really useful feedback and ideas which will greatly help us in developing the prototype. Many design alterations will be made to ensure the chair is both adaptable, easy to use, and quick to clean. Various design amendments discussed include: implementing a click backwards function, making the tray height adjustable, moving the back harness to the base of the unit to increase trunk and hip support, and having different cushion sizing options so that the chair can be adjusted for different sizes.
We also talked about the potential for the chair’s wider use. One of the nurses we spoke to has worked in palliative and community care and said that this chair would be hugely beneficial to children and families in these settings as well. The chairs could be taken into homes or hospices to allow these children some play time and family interaction. So, whilst making these chairs available for all PICUs was our primary focus, we are considering its use in the wider care community.
We are extremely grateful to the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital for allowing us to have this experience and for the physios and nurses who gave us their time to talk about the chair and help us improve the prototype. Everyone we spoke to was extremely supportive and helpful, thank you.
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