Students provide solutions for hospice
Students provide solutions for local hospice
Students from the University of Sheffield have designed a number of new products to help and aid carers and patients at St Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield.
As part of their studies students from the University’s Department of Engineering were set various challenges at the start of the academic term all around the topic of ‘adding quality to life’ to patients at the Hospice.
Using their engineering skills, they were asked to try and solve some or all of the problems that the St Luke’s patients experience on a daily basis. The challenges included finding a solution for severely ill patients to aid them in alerting their carers, as they are unable to press the alarm button, a way for Parkinson’s sufferers and MS sufferers to play cards; various ways for wheelchair users to have all their belongings with them that they can access; a way of relaxing in a wheelchair; and how to make a cup of tea at home without being able to reach the kettle.
After meeting with some of St Luke’s staff and patient, Graham Crump, the students were required to propose, design and develop a way to solve the given problem and to ensure the solution(s) proposed met the end users requirements. The students produced business plans to incorporate the solutions and supported their ideas with market research and clear market segmentation.
The solutions that were offered included a BlinkLink device that could help patients alert their carers by blinking in different rhythms to signify if they needed help. Also a wheelchair that can allow the user to stand up, lie down and sit, unlike an ordinary chair that limits a user to purely sitting down.
The winning team was the Blinklink device, winning £350 towards developing their new product. Second prize of £150 went to the team ‘Move You,’ who designed a hoist to help carers move patients that cannot move by themselves.
Elena Rodriguez Falcon, from the Department of Engineering said: “Our engineering students are not just concerned with solving commercial problems, industrial problems and environmental problems but they are also socially aware and use their skills to benefit society as a whole. The solutions offered have provided realistic and brilliant ideas, that we hope to pursue further in the future.”
Judith Park, Director of Patient Services at St Luke’s Hospice, commented: “The students should be very proud of what they have achieved. All the students have shown real commitment and their ideas and concepts have real potential to be developed in the future to help patients and carers such as those at St Luke’s.”