Mark Fowler demonstrates the iPad holder – photo supplied
An articulated arm designed to hold iPads has been helping to enhance patient experience and keep patient minds stimulated on the High Dependency Unit (HDU) and the Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
The articulated arm, which was designed and developed during 2016 by NNUH Senior Medical Equipment Technician Mark Fowler, is attached to an extendable pole to which the iPad is fixed. This is then secured to the side of a patient’s bed.
NNUH patients, who need to stay in one position for a long period of time due to their medical condition, have been praising the iPad holders which are being used to watch TV and films. The iPads also feature applications for those with communication difficulties, for example tracheostomy patients, can use the iPad to communicate.
Tim Leary, NNUH Consultant Anaesthetist explained how a special holder like this was very much needed. “When patients, particularly those with spinal injuries, come into hospital, they can spend days looking at the ceiling with nothing to keep their brain stimulated. Since the arms have been in use on the unit, our patients have been very grateful, explaining how it has helped keep boredom away whilst they are in hospital.”
Dr Leary added: “We are extremely grateful for the skills of Mark in the Clinical Engineering team who assisted with the design and manufacture of the arm.”
Mark Fowler, NNUH Senior Medical Equipment Technician and creator of the articulated arm said: “One of the services our clinical engineering team provides is to create bespoke pieces of medical equipment which assist patients and clinicians. The articulated arm I created is secure and stable with special poles so that the patient can adjust the iPad to wherever is most comfortable for them. It is fantastic that patients are seeing real benefits from the articulated arm.”
The original idea to create the iPad holder came from when Sandra Milburn, whose husband spent 80 days in critical care before he died in 2011. Sandra fundraised for the iPads and articulated arms to ensure patients could keep their brain active whilst staying in hospital.
Sandra said: “I am delighted to hear of the positive impact the iPads and stands are having on patients in regards to both communication and entertainment. My late husband, Charlie, was a long-term patient and expressed his boredom as he had very limited movement. As a family, we wanted to raise money for the NNUH ITU as a thanks for the care and support they gave to us all in what were very challenging times for us. It seemed appropriate to spend the money on something that Charlie himself mentioned.”
There are currently six of the articulated arms on the unit, with potential plans to manufacture more in the future.