Student improves dialysis treatment

Student improves dialysis treatment

A student whose mum spent five years having dialysis has designed a cannula securement device to help others who undergo the treatment.

Rory Jeffries, 21, who is studying product design at Nottingham Trent University, created Haemo Link to provide patients with improved comfort when having haemodialysis.

Rory’s mum has chronic kidney disease and spent three years having haemodialysis after two years of peritoneal dialysis. She has now had a successful kidney transplant.

“I’ve had a lot of experience of seeing my mum’s treatment and I wanted to see if I could use my degree to improve the lives of other patients,” said Rory, from Brundall near Norwich.

“Haemodialysis is tough and time-consuming. It has a major impact on people’s lives and involves regular trips to hospital over several years. So I wanted to do what I could to make things better for people.”

According to Kidney Care UK, almost 30,000 people are on dialysis in the UK and around one in every eight people in the UK will develop chronic kidney disease at some point in their lives.

Haemodialysis is usually carried out in a hospital and can take up to four hours per session, with the average patient undergoing three treatments per week.

It involves two cannulas being inserted into the arm: one to take blood away, the other to return it after it has been cleaned. The cannulas are kept in place with medical sticky tape.

“From speaking to a number of patients it became apparent that the sticky tape can cause discomfort,” said Rory.

“When you consider how much time people spend undergoing dialysis, small improvements to levels of comfort can make a big difference to their experience.

“Not only that, but after speaking to doctors, I became aware that some patients with a disease like Alzheimer’s often pull the tape off altogether.

“So I was keen to design something that was secure and comfortable to help treatments go more smoothly.”

Rory’s design centres on a strap that is fitted to a plastic body and a specially designed housing that keeps the two cannulas in place, removing the need for medical sticky tape.

The device can be rotated to allow the cannulas to enter the skin from any direction. The strap and housing are reusable and can be adjusted to each patient.

“Traditional methods of securing cannulas are outdated, potentially unhygienic and uncomfortable for the patient,” said Rory.

“So what I’ve designed is more comfortable, secure and reusable, making it better for the environment while also potentially saving money for the NHS.

“It doesn’t require nurses to retrain from their current cannulation methods and it allows the cannulas to be secured easily at any orientation.”

Rory’s design is set to go on public display for Nottingham Trent University’s Art and Design Summer Show 2018.

The show will feature works by more than 1,300 graduating artists and designers and this year is one of the ways in which Nottingham Trent University is marking its 175th anniversary.

Product Design lecturer Dr Matthew Watkins, who supervised the project, said: “Rory has identified a need for a patient-focused solution for individuals undergoing dialysis.

“Through in-depth research involving patients, nurses and a leading Renal specialist, Rory has developed a simple product to alleviate discomfort and improve the treatment efficiency for medical staff that has the potential to be widely adopted.”

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