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Device to help patients

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Marinus Potgieter (Manager of the Product Development Technology Station) and Baesi Ramodula (Chief Executive Officer of Pelonomi Hospital) with a Qcare system in the Spinal Unit of Pelonomi Hospital where the medical device will be used. Photo: Teboho Setena
Marinus Potgieter (Manager of the Product Development Technology Station) and Baesi Ramodula (Chief Executive Officer of Pelonomi Hospital) with a Qcare system in the Spinal Unit of Pelonomi Hospital where the medical device will be used. Photo: Teboho Setena

Care of less-mobile patients in hospitals and private homes in South Africa is set to dramatically change in future.

This is thanks to a unique innovative technological device designed to improve care of patients.

A proudly South African product, the Qcare system, produced by Product Development Technology Station (PDTS), is a medical device product development at the Central University of Technology (CUT) in Bloemfontein.

This ground-breaking device was launched for use at the spinal unit at the Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein last Thursday (10/10) - much to the joy of the hospital management.

The Qcare is a hospital bed management system and the Pelonomi Hospital is the first public hospital in South Africa to implement this unique bed which is portable and user-friendly.

Baesi Ramodula, Chief Executive Officer of the hospital, said the device impact will be far-reaching in assisting in the care, monitoring and evaluation of progress of about 195 patients with spinal cord injuries.

The system assist patients who are less-mobile to call on-duty nurses for assistance by pressing a call button. The device also has a feature for recording data to improve hospital efficiency. Data includes nurses’ time response to a patient’s call.

“We are excited to be the first hospital to implement the Qcare bed management system. It will assist a great deal by also improving communication because some of the patients are not able speak out loud for on-duty nurses to be aware they need help,” said Ramodula.

The device has already been installed for trial at selective beds of patients in the hospital’s spinal unit.

The Qcare device is an idea of Heinrich Williams, a quadriplegic and owner of Qsystems. He could not use a normal call button. The Qcare soft button can be triggered by multiple body movements and hand function isn’t necessary. The device not only improves patients care, but also assist them unable to make use of conventional call methods.

It is one of seven commercially ready medical devices developed by the PDTS, based at the Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein, which was funded by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA).

“The Qcare is an African solution for a South African challenge. We can stand and complain about our systems or we can create solutions for these problems,” said Allan Kinnear, Project Engineer at PDTS.

According to Kinnear, South Africa has many healthcare issues and imports 91% of its medical devices and believes this device was a ground-breaking technological innovation.

Ezra Krause, Electronic Engineer at PDTS, said it was vital to create a device that is easy to install and repair, capable for implementation and provide reliable data. An automatic alarm can also be scheduled for patients that need regular assistance. It has been designed alleviate nurses work load.

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