Innovative new design turns infection control on its head

Renfrew Group International unveils the innovative Patient Isolation Suit

An award-winning UK product design agency has revealed an innovative new isolation suit that could revolutionise the care of patients suffering from highly-infectious diseases such as Ebola.

Renfrew Group International has unveiled its prototype Patient Isolation Suit, a sealed environment that is worn by an infected person and acts as a container for microbiological materials such as pathogens, spores and viruses.

As well as protecting the patient, the suit will also stop the transfer of the life-threatening infections to healthcare workers.

Speaking to BBH about the product, Bruce Renfrew, company director, explained: “During the recent Ebola outbreak, we were concerned by news of care workers succumbing to the deadly infection while caring for patients.

Our design turns the problem of contamination on its head and puts the patient in the protective suit, rather than everyone else having to be so protected

“We were also struck by the amount of technology and protective equipment needed to treat just one person.

“Our design turns the problem of contamination on its head and puts the patient in the protective suit, rather than everyone else having to be so protected.”

The Patient Isolation Suit, which is currently being assessed by the World Health Organization, is a self-supporting design worn by a patient, with the specific purpose of protecting health workers from contamination through direct contact during nursing.

Renfrew said: “The current protocol requires health workers to wear protective suits while transporting and nursing patients with an infectious disease.

“Patients are nursed in isolation rooms or enclosures, some with air filtration under negative pressure, and nursing staff must adhere to strictly-controlled routines.

“This new product means that, rather than care workers having to robe and disrobe after treating patients, the patient is instead encased in a suit that gives them manoeuvrability so they can interact with people.”

Currently at the prototype phase, the suit is made of tough, anti-microbial and non-porous material and offers plenty of space for healthcare professionals to administer treatment.

Food and liquids can be safely transferred and there are three sets of nursing gloves built into each side of the suit. The suit can then be hooked up to an air temperature, HEPA and UV filtration unit and waste management system. An intercom and double-sealed transfer hatch complete the design.

It is not an expensive piece of equipment and it has many benefits, both protecting staff and improving the experience for patients

Renfrew said: “We can see this working as an emergency system for Ebola and other highly-infectious diseases, whether in hospitals or in the field.

“It is not an expensive piece of equipment and it has many benefits, both protecting staff and improving the experience for patients.”

Renfrew Group International is now looking for a partner to take the design to the next stage.

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