SINGAPORE — A hospital has partnered a polytechnic to come up with detachable box shields that provide more protection for healthcare workers caring for critically ill patients, including COVID-19 cases.
Known as the bio-aerosol containment unit (BCU), these box shields come in three models to be attached to hospital beds: one for administering treatment such as non-invasive ventilation and nebulisation where medicine is converted into an aerosol to be inhaled directly, another for transporting patients between units, and the third for first-responders to provide immediate oxygenation safely.
They were designed by the intensive care medicine team from Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) in collaboration with Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Robotics Research and Innovation Centre.
“Unlike many of the currently seen box shields, we have designed a bigger and custom-made isolation chamber to easily retrofit our intensive care unit (ICU) and transfer beds,” said Dr Tan Chee Keat, NTFGH head and senior consultant of intensive care medicine.
For instance, the BCU for administering aerosol-generating treatment measures 60cm by 92cm and 70cm high and comes in four pieces to be easily fixed on ICU beds. The larger space accommodates the placement of intubation items and reduces the need for healthcare workers to insert and remove their arms to carry out treatment on patients.
As it can be inclined up to 60 degrees with the bed, it allows patients to be propped up when they receive treatment.
The second model protects staff when patients are propped up and transported between different units in the hospital. This BCU is safely locked to the head end of a bed, which can be raised during a transfer to reduce environmental contamination.
The third type can be used to allow first responders to immediately provide oxygenation for patients even while in basic gear. This BCU helps to buy time for other responders to gear up in the powered air-purifying respirator, which takes about three to five minutes to put on, and other equipment for intubation.
All boxes come with two holes that can be connected to a wall suction that extracts air from the inside of the box.
Two openings at the head end of the BCUs allow for easy intubation access, while the other two at the sides are for serving water and medicine to patients as well as for other purposes, such as to facilitate nursing care or for the doctor to perform echocardiography.
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