Technology trial to help injured patients signal hospital staff

New technology being trialled at Staffordshire hospitals.

Claire Rae, Speech and Language Therapist on ARTU and Rachel Miles, Advanced Occupational Therapist on ARTU
Claire Rae, Speech and Language Therapist on ARTU and Rachel Miles, Advanced Occupational Therapist on ARTU

Custom call switches are being trialled at a hospital trust to make it easier for severely injured patients to communicate with staff.

Patients on University Hospitals of North Midlands’ acute rehabilitation and trauma unit (ARTU) can now communicate more effectively with staff, thanks to the use of innovative new technology.

The team is trialling five prototype custom-made call switches which make it easier for patients with even severe injuries to let staff know when they need assistance.

The switches have additional infection prevention features incorporated into their design so they can be cleaned down effectively between patients and, if successful, can replace standard call switches commonly used to help patients with limited movement or dexterity.

Claire Rae, speech and language therapist on ARTU, said: “Many of our patients have very severe injuries and sometimes they can struggle to move or speak.

"Often these patients are unable to use standard call switches to attract the attention of staff because it’s just too difficult for them to operate.

"This can be incredibly frustrating for them when they’re already feeling unwell and vulnerable.

“We had already been searching for a better switch solution for a long time, but we redoubled our efforts when we cared for one particular patient who could only nod and shake his head and was really struggling to communicate with us.”

Claire began working with Berkshire-based company Smile Smart Technology, a family-run enterprise, to find a solution.

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