Easy positioning medical bed. A FP7 for SMEs project



The Need

The in-bed positioning of patients with limited mobility is of major importance in order to prevent the worsening of their health condition and improve their comfort. The lack of autonomy to undertake basic movements and postural changes causes anguish and discomfort in these patients. Nowadays, nurses need to change manually the position of patients every 2 to 4 hours. The manual handling of patients is reported to cause an outstanding amount of work-related back injuries, with 85% of nurses suffering back injury at some point in their career. These injuries account for 15 billion lost working days each year, bringing about annual cost of approximately 6 billion euros to the European hospitals.

The Market

Revenues in the hospital specialty beds market reached approximately €800 million in Europe in 2005, with an annual growth rate of 9% as a consequence of the population aging. Despite the existing mentioned strong demand for a system enabling patients improved mobility, there is not a satisfactory product in the market. The aim of this project is to enable European SMEs to either enter or strengthen their competitive positioning in the specialty bed market by working together with world class RTD performers in the development of new technology that fills unmet market needs.

The Solution

Our project proposes to design and validate a specialty bed with a positioning functionality that allows patients with limited mobility to change their position in bed without need of assistance from hospital personnel. An actuator system will change the bed configuration in order to assist comfortable (1) lateral positions and (2) sitting positions. To facilitate that elderly people can use the assistive system, an intuitive user interface will be implemented, based in an intelligent sensing system that interprets the movement intended by the patient and activate a servo-actuator system accordingly. This system avoids the need of remote controllers and ensures the autonomy of elderly patients. 


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