ParAid Medical Systems, the specialist UK manufacturer of emergency mobility and transport solutions, has teamed up with award-winning consultancy Lightweight Medical to launch two entirely new products for the safe transportation of critically ill newborn babies.
ParAid's neo-restraint and neo-capsul have been developed as a result of in-depth discussion with clinicians specialising in neonatal care and typify the problem-led approach taken by the Lightweight Medical healthcare design engineering team.
Until now there has been no safety-conscious method available for the transportation by vehicle and air of critically ill newborn babies.
Neil Tierney, director and product design engineer of Lightweight Medical, explains, " By focusing on solving clinical needs we develop healthcare products which have strong market potential. We work very closely with clinicians on an ongoing basis, gaining feedback on design concepts and prototypes to ensure our designs are successful in the field. "
ParAid's neo-restraint is based on carbon fibre restraint bars, a washable foam mattress and six dual density foam wedges which can be configured in any position along the bars. Cotton straps, secured with hook and loop, pass over each pair of foam wedges resulting in a soft, yet rigid structure that reduces the potentially harmful effects of vibration and can restrain a 500g to five kilo baby safely and comfortably. An integral net bag in the mattress cover means that all components can be washed together after use and kits are colour coded for easy identification.
The neo-capsul has a lightweight aluminium space frame which encases the neo-restraint in a double-skinned clear acrylic module that allows medical teams visibility and easy access to the infant for monitoring and treatment during the journey. The original shape provides stability, and the double-skinning enables sound levels and vibration in the module to be reduced significantly, decreasing the potential distress of the baby inside.
ParAid started working with Lightweight Medical on the project around two years ago and ParAid managing director Barry Scholes says the relationship has been very rewarding throughout.
He says " Working with an external research and development team is extremely beneficial as it means we can concentrate on running the business knowing that the project is in safe hands. Lightweight Medical's communication skills are a major strength. The team is very commercially minded and keeps us in touch with each step of design development, consulting regularly with us on fabrication issues. Because of this close consultative approach there have been very few modifications as we move into production. "
Over the three years of the project, ParAid will invest nearly £250,000 in the product design and development, with Lightweight Medical securing an additional £90,000 SPUR Award grant from the Scottish Executive. This represents a substantial investment for ParAid, but Barry Scholes believes the market is considerable, with any hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit potentially benefiting from these innovative products.
He concludes, " It proves that UK engineers and manufacturers are still at the forefront of innovation. Together we've brought these well-researched and intelligent products to market in an incredibly short period of time and I'm proud to be associated with such a talented and professional team of design engineers. "
Further information is available from ParAid Medical Systems, ParAid House, Weston Lane, Birmingham, B11 3RS, tel +44 (0) 121 706 6744, email: info@ParAid.co.uk or by visiting the company’s website at www.ParAid.co.uk