Device ups patient care

Marinus Potgieter (manager of the Product Development Technology Station) and Baesi Ramodula (chief executive officer of the Pelonomi Hospital) with a Qcare device in the spinal unit of the 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 the Pelonomi Hospital) with a Qcare device in the spinal unit of the Pelonomi Hospital, where the medical device will be used. Photo: Teboho Setena

The care provided to less-mobile patients in hospitals and private homes in South Africa is set to dramatically change in future.

This is thanks to an innovative technological medical device.

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

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

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

Baesi Ramodula, chief executive officer (CEO) of the hospital, said the device’s impact would be far-reaching in assisting in the care, monitoring and evaluation of progress of about 195 patients with spinal cord injuries.

The system assists patients who are less mobile to call on-duty nurses for assistance.

The Qcare soft button can be triggered by multiple body movements and hand function is not necessary.

The device not only assists patients who are unable to make use of conventional call methods, it also improves patient care.

The device has a feature for recording data to improve hospital efficiency. Data includes the time taken for nurses to respond to a patient’s call.

An automatic alarm can also be scheduled for patients that need regular assistance. It has been designed alleviate nurses’ work load.

“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.

It is one of seven commercially ready medical devices developed by the PDTS 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 the PDTS.

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

Ezra Krause, electronic engineer at the PDTS, said it was vital to create a device that is easy to install and repair, capable for implementation and that can provide reliable data.

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