Community nurses design new trolley for leg ulcer patients

Lincolnshire NHS staff invent height-adjustable trolley in bid to reduce back injuries

The Harris Trolley was the brainchild of Linda Harris and the nursing team at Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust

Community nurses have helped to develop an innovative new clinical trolley aimed at preventing back injuries when cleansing and treating patients with leg ulcers.

Nurses at Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust came up with the idea for the innovation after receiving complaints of injuries and pain caused to staff by continued kneeling and lifting.

Hopefully this idea will be picked up by other NHS trusts and healthcare organisations and will result in a significant reduction in the number of nurses suffering musculoskeletal problems

And they have worked with manufacturer, Plinth 2000, to bring to market the stainless steel, height-adjustable Harris Trolley, which has removable autoclavable trays for holding wash bowls, instruments, compression bandages and debris. It allows leg ulcers to be bathed and dressed at a height that is suitable for the patient and the nurse.

It will now be sold as part of an all-in-one leg ulcer package which costs £3,000 and also includes an electronically-operated tilting bariatric chair and an operator’s chair.

The packs are currently being used by community healthcare workers in the South East Business Unit before they are rolled out to NHS organisations across the country.

The Lincolnshire community team provides services for the whole of the county, covering an area of 2,350 square miles and a population of 723,000. It employs 2,800 staff. However, the area has the highest rates of obesity in the country and, as part of its manual handling policy, the trust has established a back care team.

It’s wonderful to see one of our members developing such an innovative solution to a problem that has been plaguing nurses for decades, and it just goes to show what can be achieved when we are given the opportunity to have an input into changing the way we work

“Effective treatment, cleansing and dressing of leg ulcers is vital to ensure that the patient recovers as quickly as possible,” said community nurse, Linda Harris, who is based at Spalding’s Johnson Community Hospital and after whom the trolley has been named. “However, it was previously necessary to lift heavy bowls of water from the floor, causing strain to the knees, back and neck. With input from the back care team and my own nursing experience, we were able to create a safe and effective working tool. We are delighted that Plinth 2000 has now been able to produce a production model that will mean a better working environment for nursing staff.”

Niall Dyer, managing director of Plinth 2000, said of the innovation: "As with all good ideas; the concept is simple and needed only fine honing after the prototype was produced and trialled. We believe this will be a big step forward in providing excellent patient care and minimising discomfort and strain for clinical staff."

The work of the nursing team has also been recognised by Dr Sheila Marriott, the East Midlands regional director for the Royal College of Nursing. She said healthcare staff were perfectly placed to design new equipment and devices. She told BBH : “It’s wonderful to see one of our members developing such an innovative solution to a problem that has been plaguing nurses for decades, and it just goes to show what can be achieved when we are given the opportunity to have an input into changing the way we work.

We believe this will be a big step forward in providing excellent patient care and minimising discomfort and strain for clinical staff

“The stresses and strains that are placed on a nurse’s body in the course of their day-to-day work are huge and often result in long-term health problems, and I welcome anything that can reduce the risk of injury to our members.

“It seems such a simple solution, but there has clearly been a huge amount of development work carried out to create this package of tools, and Linda’s knowledge and experience of the problems she has faced when bathing and cleaning leg ulcers has played an integral role in this. Hopefully this idea will be picked up by other NHS trusts and healthcare organisations and will result in a significant reduction in the number of nurses suffering musculoskeletal problems.”

As well as the Harris Trolley, the leg ulcer pack also includes a modified version of Plinth 2000’s 50CDT tilting bariatric podiatry chair, with a 320kg lifting and tilting capacity for handling even the heaviest patients. It features motorised Trendelenburg tilt and backrest operations, as well as divided footrest angle adjustment for raising either leg to the optimum position for treatment.

The clinician’s chair has an ‘active seating’ backrest which follows the slightest body movement, even when leaning forward, providing optimum lumbar support and encouraging core muscle activity. The moulded foam seat has a waterfall edge that reduces pressure on the thighs, while the height is easily adjustable by a control lever.

Companies