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RD&E designs & markets Patient Care Signage system


A simple communication tool which provides ward staff at-a-glance information about the specific needs of patients has been designed, piloted and developed by a team at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital.


The design and testing of the Patient Care Signage system has involved front line NHS nursing staff and feedback from patients, and their carers and relatives, about the benefits of this equipment.


The Patient Care Signage system consists of bright yellow pieces which can be attached to the drip pole at the patient bedside with symbols indicating the specific needs of the patient. Symbols include – at risk of falls, need assistance with eating and drinking, visual or hearing impairment and communication or learning difficulties. Patients or, where appropriate, their next of kin, give their consent to the signage tool being used on the ward. Stickers with the same symbols can be used on the patient notes too.


The idea for this tool came from the Trust’s Disability Equality Action Group and Patient & Public Involvement Facilitator Natalie Stone. The RD&E Research & Development service funded the prototype development work which was done by Exeter University engineers Dave Baker and Michael Felstead. The RD&E arranged for the design to be registered with the Patent Office so the Trust owns the intellectual property of this product. A local supplier will take the orders for the equipment on behalf of the RD&E from other hospitals and private care homes.


DEAG Chair, Nigel Lawrence said: “The Patient Care Signage project has been a real collaboration between the nursing staff, the patients and their relatives, and the team which has designed, developed and made the equipment at the RD&E and the University of Exeter.  The RD&E has a track record for innovation and service improvement and we hope that patients of other hospitals and care homes can benefit from this simple but effective tool.”

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