Anyone who has ever experienced hospital wheelchairs certainly knows they are uncomfortable and, in some cases, dangerous. A University of Alabama at Birmingham hospital executive recognized a need to prevent injuries from occurring when patients were moved in and out of hospital wheelchairs. As a result, the Movi was created.
Lloyd Cooper, founder of PUSH Product Design, was the industrial designer on the project. He said the idea to reinvent the wheelchair was the result of a serious problem with wheelchair-related patient and hospital staff injuries, which insurance companies label as “hospital acquired conditions,” for which the companies decline to cover.
“Over the last few years, insurance quit paying for slip-and-fall injuries in hospitals because it has become the hospital’s responsibility,” Cooper said.
“There are a lot of issues with a wheelchair in a hospital,” Dr. Will Ferniany, CEO of UAB Health System said. “There’s no storage capacity. There are problems with the footrests. And they tend to get stolen. But the most important thing is that staff and patients get hurt. They hurt backs and muscles. Ever try to get anybody out of wheelchair? It’s hard.”
The new Movi not only looks much more futuristic, it also has a host of features that benefit both the patient and the nursing staff who use wheelchairs to transport patients throughout the hospital.
Along with a motor that lifts and lowers the chair for easier access and exit, the new design has storage behind the chair, an IV pole, and an automatic lift that puts the footrest flush with the floor so patients can rise from the seat with less risk.
In addition, it also takes patient comfort into consideration. Traditional hospital-grade wheelchairs sit the patient at a 90 degree angle, which is bad for the back and doesn’t allow for repositioning. For patients in long-term care facilities, this can result in pressure sores. The Movi has a more natural sitting angle that does not compress the spine, and it’s also adjustable to allow a broader range of angles to relieve pressure and prevent sores.
The Movi does require someone to push the chair, as it does not have large wheels that allow the patient to self-propel like traditional wheelchairs. In hospitals, this is not much of a concern, as nursing and support staff are required to transport patients. The designers do not think it will be a major concern for potential home use, either, as the people most likely to use a Movi will have a caretaker to assist with mobility.
Is the future of hospital wheelchairs looking up? What do you like best about the Movi?