GS1145 Bionic Suit Essay

Submitted By BradRoppe
Words: 938
Pages: 4

It is no surprise that the largest number of injuries reported by nurses are injuries to the back and spine. Nurses and assisting staff members move patients of all shapes and sizes, and they do so in sometimes awkward positions, tight working areas, and sometimes the strain is just more than they can bear. Nurses are trained in the proper lifting techniques to move patients, but sometimes even knowing and implementing the proper procedures is not enough. Patient moving devices such as pulley systems and slide boards are made to assist nurses in moving patients using as few people as possible. These tools may be a thing of the past as new advances in technology are outdating some of the devices used. Imagine picking up a 200 pound patient and having to move them into another bed by yourself. Now, imagine being able to carry a patient that outweighs you effortlessly with no strain to your back and muscles. A new Ekso bionic exoskeleton suit that allows you to accomplish this will be available to the public this year by Ekso Bionics. This suit will decrease back injuries to hospital personnel and nursing staff, make in home care easier for nurses, and increase mobility for patients who have lost the ability to walk. By reading electrical signals sent from the brain, the suits computer system reads the electrical impulses to raise or lower a limb and completes the action for the user. The suit can be used for sitting, standing, squatting, walking, lifting, and carrying heavy objects. This is a tool with endless potential for the person wearing the suit.
A more recent study performed by the American Nurses Association revealed that 62% of the 4,600 plus nurse participants rated developing a disabling musculoskeletal disorder as a top health and safety concern. (ANA, 2011). Additionally, 56% of nurses reported musculoskeletal pain was exacerbated by job tasks such as patient handling (ANA, 2011). Even though we like to think all injuries are preventable, sometimes this is just not the case. Preventing these injuries to healthcare workers is one of the driving forces behind creating the suits. The cost of one suit would pay for itself over time by preventing these injuries from ever occurring. The costs of injury claims to hospitals and insurance companies is quite large, and this new technology is going to be a great step in helping every nurse stay in their field longer and will help remedy the shortage of healthcare workers we are going to be faced with in the future.
Another benefit of having a suit that takes the strain off of your arms and back is knowing that the patient will be safely lifted by a single person who is then able to carry a larger amount of weight safely and securely. The fear of being dropped during a patient move is something I have encountered myself. Experiencing the sensation of being moved from one place to another can be unnerving. The (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011) estimated the number of home healthcare worker positions will increase by 48% from 2012 to 2022 partly because of the increasing number of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, and need for healthcare services for the baby boomers. Often there is one nurse visiting a house for in home care. If the attending nurse had the advantage of using an Ekso bionic suit they would have a much easier job when it comes to moving patients, whether it be lifting and moving the patient, or simple helping the patient across the room.
When you see a person who is missing a limb, confined to a wheelchair, or confined to a bed, you can’t help but wonder how it happened. Did they know what is was like to walk at one point in their life and lose the ability? What price would…