Staff at Bradford University’s School of Health Studies have developed a leg suspension system that they claim will improve the recovery of patients and reduce risks for hospital workers.
The new system, which is being launched by health innovation company Salitas, has the potential to reduce the risk of back injuries associated with manually lifting a leg in operating theatres and hospital wards.
The system, which comprises a suspension stand and a sling, mechanically lifts and supports the patient’s leg, allowing medical professionals to safely carry out a variety of clinical procedures with reduced risk of experiencing the muscle strain often caused by repeated manual lifting.
The system supports the leg with one of two types of sling. The first, available in both sterile and non-sterile versions, is a disposable product that has been designed to provide support at either the thigh or the heel.
The second has been designed to provide full support along both the thigh and calf. It is light-weight, resistant to chlorine-based cleaning agents and has a wipe down surface.
Use of this two-part sling - designed for single-patient use - may help to increase patient recovery rate as movement can be maintained at the hip, hyperextension at the knee joint is avoided, and there is no increase in pressure at the back of the calf or heel.
The suspension stand used to support the sling is capable of working equally well as a stand alone product for suspending drips and monitors above or close to the patient.
'Our studies show that the use of a mechanical device to lift and support the leg significantly lowers the amount of work done by the muscles in the lower back and thereby significantly reduces risks,' said Sue Barton, creator of the leg support system.
'We invented this system not only to improve the working practice of health professionals involved in lifting and supporting a leg, but to allow the patient’s leg to be held in a position of comfort - thereby delivering improved patient care,' she added.
Sister Evelyn Cooke (in purple), Orthopaedic Technician Zana Steele (in green) and Matron Chris Wardman (in blue) test the new leg support system on a patient at Orthotics and Orthopaedic Outpatients, Bradford Royal Infirmary