“It’s going to make people feel safe.”
Researchers from Australia’s University of Melbourne have designed a personal ventilation hood as a barrier between patients and health-care workers in collaboration with Western Health hospital.
The transparent, movable personal ventilation hood sucks air away from the patient while creating an effective droplet containment barrier. The device is also large enough to accommodate other medical equipment that might be attached to the patient.
Lead researcher and fluid mechanics expert from the University’s Melbourne School of Engineering, Professor Jason Monty, said it is known that Covid-19 is carried via droplets expelled by infected patients.
“So the design provides safe as possible access for the healthcare worker so that the health care worker can attend to the patient through these slits in the side. A key feature of this design is in emergency situations where quick access to the patient is required. This can be quickly, easily pulled up, pushed away, and we can access the patient as required or push the bed away,” Professor Monty said.
Professor Monty was first approached by Associate Professor Forbes McGain, an intensive care specialist at Western Health, with ideas about how healthcare workers could be better protected by individually isolating critically ill patients with Covid-19.
“A device like this is necessary because there is enormous worry, fear that we’re going to run out of personal protective equipment. This will reduce the risk of patients transmitting Covid-19 to healthcare workers. It will also allow the care of the patient to be better than what it would otherwise be,” said Dr. McGain.
Professor Monty and Associate Professor McGain then developed the concept of the hood. The device has since been prototyped and tested with a team of fluid dynamics researchers, in consultation with intensive care specialists, nurses and other infectious disease experts at Western Health.
The prototype device has been made using readily accessible components at a low cost, making it suitable for low to middle income countries.
Professor Monty says, “We are working with local manufacturers to try and mass produce this personal ventilation hood in order to safeguard Australian hospitals and hopefully from there moving on globally.”
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In This Story: COVID-19
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