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Behind the scenes - Patient Repositioning Device image

Since launch of our Coronavirus (COVID-19) innovation call, back in April 2020, the SHIL team have received an overwhelming response, with submissions up by 560% on the same period last year. Supporting development of innovative ideas in response to COVID-19 is vitally important, but equally so is continuing to progress pre COVID-19 ideas that support improvements in patient care. So this month we go behind the scenes to look at one product the SHIL team are preparing to launch.

The Patient Repositioning Device

Invented by Jim Riggans, a community nurse from NHS Lothian, the Patient Repositioning Device is an innovative solution for moving patients at home or in a care home setting. It is primarily used to manoeuvre patients to administer personal care, such as changing clothing, dressing changes and cleaning.

The Patient Repositioning Device offers a quicker, easier and safer experience for both patient and carer:

  • a layer of material sits atop the patient’s bed - the layer has several handles, ones for repositioning and longer ones for turning the patients
  • the handles have been optimally placed to distribute load down the patient and ensure even turning
  • the underside of the device is made of glide material to allow for sliding of patients, resulting in a smoother, more controlled movement with reduced friction

Motivation behind idea

Inventor Jim observed that it was often difficult to manoeuvre patients and have them supported whilst administering personal care in their own home.

The idea behind the device was to allow a single carer to carry out patient turning manoeuvres. This would mean the requirement for fewer staff and time savings, while maintaining the safety of both patient and carer. It also has advantages over typical glide sheets in that it remains under the patient at all times, mitigating the need to carry additional equipment.

Jim comments:

“As a community nurse, I’m regularly out visiting patients or care homes or their own homes and involved in manoeuvring them. I wanted to create a device that made this process quicker, easier and safer, for both nurses and patients whilst administering personal care.”

Idea development

SHIL was approached in 2016 with the initial idea for the project.

Originally the proposal was a mattress, segmented in parts that would move (via air or mechanical pressure) in order to turn the patient. During design and development phase, the concept evolved to the mattress topper concept guided by assessments on practical and economic feasibility.

Commercial partner Silvalea, a designer and manufacturer of In-situ patient transfer sling ranges, has developed the prototype, with final adjustments now being made before manufacture.

Gillian Henderson, Head of Project Management for SHIL, comments:

“Whilst a lot of our current focus and resource is supporting the response to COVID-19, we still have a number of innovative products in our development pipeline. The patient repositioning device is something that has universal appeal, applicable to most health care settings and scenarios, and it is now almost ready to be transferred to the manufacturer for launch.”

Gary Bevan, of licence partner Silvalea, comments:

“After receiving positive feedback on our initial prototype, we are incorporating some further developments before heading into the manufacture process. We have worked closely with both Jim and SHIL to create a high-quality device that aligns perfectly with our current range of hoist swings. We look forward to launching in the near future.”

For further information on this project get in touch via

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