Counterbalance System:

Principles and Application for Transferring Bedridden Patient

This research was supported in part with funds from UCARE for the 2019-2020 academic year.


Generic cable-suspended robot covering a cuboid work-space

Specific Aim

Develop a modular body-weight support system that is suitable for unobtrusive installation in the home and clinical care environments.

Background

In a hospital, when a bedridden patient requests to leave the bed, often, two or more healthcare workers are needed to work together to transfer the patient. The currently available solutions are not time effective as time is wasted waiting for the assistants to come from different places. In a home setting, assistance from others is somewhat limited compared to a clinical setting. Few products in the market serve a similar purpose of this study, but most of them are either bulky (hard to transport from one patient to another) or need to be built-in to the infrastructure (having rails built-in up in the ceiling).

This study aims to develop an overhead support system that will uniformly provide body-weight support functionalities in places such as a bedroom or living space (i.e., home or nursing care environment).

Significance of Research

Healthcare workers who work with the reduced mobility population are negatively affected. Manual patient handling of those who lack physical mobility – e.g., lifting, moving, or re-positioning patients with limited independent mobility – has been identified as the most significant risk factor for overexertion injuries among nursing staff, workers in assistive care facilities, and emergency response personnel. Among these populations, patient handling results in musculoskeletal injury rates two to five times the national average. [CDC/NIOSH, 2018]

This study aims to design a new, low-cost, and accessible mechanical patient-lift device that has benefits as below:

Caretaker-wise:

1. Lighten the burden on healthcare workers to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injury;

2. Minimize the number of caretakers needed to transport the patient.

Infrastructure-wise (home and hospital included):

1. Be easily installed and uninstalled without affecting the original room infrastructure.