16 January 2013
LIGHTBULB INNOVATION: Better ulcer treatment designed by nurse
28 09 2012
Community Nurse and RCN member, Linda Harris, designed a footbath which makes cleansing and dressing leg ulcers much easier for patients and nurses.
Based at Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS), Linda runs the leg ulcer clinic and sees an average of 14 patients each day. She found that the amount of bending, twisting, and turning involved in carrying bowls of water back and forth to the sink was proving very physically challenging. Many of her colleagues in the ulcer clinic had the same problems.
As Linda began to investigate the possibility of buying new equipment which would make the treatment more comfortable to perform, she found that nothing on the market was able to help her.
After meeting with the back care team at LCHS, Linda set about creating an innovative solution to the specific problem she and her team were facing.
Linda’s innovation introduces a new way of working which gets nurses off the floor when they’re cleaning leg ulcers.
So what did Linda do? She combined a specially designed bathing trolley, now called the Harris Trolley, with two bariatric chairs: an electrically operated and height adjustable one for the patient, and a swivel, height adjustable one for the nurse. It means nurses don’t have to lift and carry bowls of water or kneel on the floor, but can sit comfortably close to bathe and cleanse the patient’s ulcer.
The set of equipment costs in the region of £3,000 but aims to save trusts £500,000 by reducing musculoskeletal injuries.
Linda says: “It’s such a simple idea, it just makes sense. The biggest surprise is that someone hadn’t come up with it before!”