Toyota has unveiled a new approach to improving the safety and effectiveness of patient handling. Safely handling hospital patients and nursing home residents is becoming an increasingly challenging activity. The number of people requiring nursing care is outpacing the number of nurses, and as our population ages, this rate will only increase. Already the physical demands of moving and handling patients and residents cause a high injury rate in the nursing profession. Significant progress has been made in the usability and comfort of hoists for moving dependent patients, but these improvements have been iterations of the existing technologies. Toyota has taken a completely different approach.
Toyota introduced a series of robotic assist devices that will assist patients and residents who couldn’t move themselves before, move independently with the assistance of a robotic attachment. This innovative use of technology will reduce both time and physical demands on the nurse. This will help with both the anticipated staffing shortages and with the injury risks present in the nursing profession. But perhaps even more importantly, this technology will increase the independence of many people who would otherwise have to rely on a caregiver for assistance in moving. More independence means increased dignity and may also result in reducing the need for institutionalized care, resulting in the added benefit of reducing healthcare costs.
Isn’t technology amazing! (Now when can I get my ray gun and flying car?)