Graduation Year

2004

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.E.S.

Degree Granting Department

Engineering Science

Major Professor

Moreno, Wilfrido

Keywords

goniometer, nursing, patient safety, biomedical engineering, ergonomics, biomechanics, flex sensor, labview, presure sensor

Abstract

A common problem associated with patient handling is the risk of bodily injury due to acute or cumulative trauma. The objective of this research was to develop an integrated solution, using commercially available components, to help health care providers handle patients in a safe manner. The objective was achieved by retrofitting a mannequin with flex sensors, electrogoniometers, pressure sensors, and photocells. The sensors were capable of quantifying angular displacement, skin pressure distribution and undignified exposure. All of these variables were monitored by a computer-based data acquisition system. The design of this integrated system was implemented using National Instruments LabView software, which possessed the capability to provide both spasm simulation process control and a history of the acquired sensor data.

A virtual instrument, (VI), was developed using LabView as the interface between the user or instructor and the instrumented mannequin. The VI had the capability of displaying the history of the acquired data. With access to the data's history the trainer is able to analyze the sensor information and verify the procedural accuracy of the actions performed on the simulated patient by the student. The system technologies employed can help the instructor improve the training of health care workers. Additionally, providing the trainer with useful information about the student's skill building during interaction with a patient enhances evaluation of the student's performance. Once the data is collected, the instrumented mannequin is capable of identifying problems such as excessive force or pressure when health care providers are interacting with patients.

This provides the healthcare community with useful information to improve and provide a safer and more comfortable environment for the patient. The instrumented mannequin will be a valuable tool in evaluating and assessing the merits of clinical procedures. It may also be used in biomechanical studies involving patient handling by caregivers.

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