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Leg support system will benefit health staff and patients

Staff in the University of Bradford’s School of Health Studies have developed a device that will improve the recovery of patients and reduce risks for hospital workers.

The newly-created powered leg suspension 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 mechanically lifts and supports the patient’s leg, allowing the medical professional to safely carry out a variety of clinical procedures with reduced risk of experiencing the muscle strain often caused by repeated manual lifting.

Supporting the leg via a simple interface with the stand are two types of sling - the choice of which varies according to end use. The first sling is a disposable product with high strength to ensure good patient comfort. It is designed to provide support at either the thigh or the heel for specific applications such as plaster room or in theatre and is available in both sterile and non-sterile versions.

The alternative product is 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 (which is designed for single-patient use) may also help to increase patient recovery rate as range of 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 is capable of working equally well as a stand alone product for use in the suspension of drips and monitors above or close to the patient and has a small foot print; allowing for flexibility of use.

Sue Barton, creator of the leg support system based at the University of Bradford’s School of Health Studies, said: “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.

“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.”

Oliver Tipper | alfa
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