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Students' device allows ICU patients to get back on their feet
Date:5/28/2008

Johns Hopkins undergraduates have designed and built a device to enable critically ill intensive care unit patients to leave their beds and walk while remaining tethered to essential life-support equipment. The invention allows doctors to better understand whether carefully supervised rehabilitation, as opposed to continuous sedation and bed rest, can improve the recovery of intensive care patients.

Some clinicians believe that allowing ICU patients to get out of bed and walk could avert some of the muscle weakness, bedsores and depression that typically develop when these patients are kept heavily sedated and confined to bed. Because such patients usually must remain connected to an artificial breathing machine, heart monitors and intravenous lines with essential medications, a simple walk down the hall can require four staff members to accompany the patient.

To reduce this staffing demand and improve this new ICU rehabilitation program, a physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital last year asked students in a biomedical engineering design team course to devise a mobility aid for ICU patients. Over two semesters, the students, supervised by faculty members and graduate students and advised by hospital staff, produced a device called the ICU MOVER Aid. This device has two components: a novel mobility aid that combines the rehabilitative features of a walker and the safety features of a wheelchair, and a separate wheeled tower to which important life-support equipment can be attached.

The finished product is truly outstanding, said physician Dale Needham, an assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The most recent version of the MOVER is far beyond a rough prototype. The students exceeded everyone's expectations in designing a device that we could routinely use in the Medical ICU.

To help him improve the new Medical ICU rehabilitation pro
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Contact: Phil Sneiderman
prs@jhu.edu
443-287-9960
Johns Hopkins University
Source:Eurekalert  

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