Regulator supports design rights for potentially-lifesaving medical wristband

Published: 6-Oct-2015

Care Quality Commission supports commercialisation of innovative wristband designed to enhance patient nutrition in care and hospital settings

In 2013 the Office for National Statistics found that between 2003 and 2012 1,158 care home residents died of dehydration-related illnesses – an average of 24 vulnerable people a week.

Warminster independent care service provider, Snowdrop Care, has now secured the design rights to the innovative ‘Hydrate Me’ band, which helps caregivers recognise those at risk from dehydration and malnutrition.

The easy-to-read vinyl band can be used by hospitals, care homes and independent living facilities to show that extra assistance is needed with food and drink.

Drawing on her 17 years experience in the care profession, Adeline Dalley, founder of Snowdrop Care, created the wristband after she witnessed a patient being moved around six different wards. The nurses on each ward were unaware the patient needed assistance, which led to the patient’s family going in every day to give her food and water.

The innovative solution has now been given the backing of health and social care regulator, the Care Quality Commission. Its chief inspector of social care, Andrea Sutcliffe, said: “Making sure that people using health and care services have enough to drink is really important.

“Very often they may find it difficult by themselves and will need assistance. Supporting staff to recognise this could be really helpful for everyone.”

Dalley added: “After seeing first-hand how easily those who need help can be forgotten, I decided that something needed to be done. The 2013 figures released by the ONS are scary and show just how many people are left at risk.

“By developing the easy-to-read, recognisable band we are helping to reduce the chances of legal action being taken against hospitals, poor Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST) scores and the risk of patient illnesses such as urinary tract infections.”

The ‘Hydrate Me’ band is clearly identifiable to all. It displays an easy-to-understand message reading ‘Please help. I am unable to eat or drink without your assistance.’ It is also waterproof, making it hard to smudge, and is hard to remove, meaning the band can travel with patients across multiple wards if needed.

Ideal for frail and vulnerable people, as well as patients with Alzheimers, Parkinson’s and other life-altering cognitive issues, the new band allows patients to get the care they need without having to vocalise their issues - which isn’t always possible.

Dalley said: “The band helps give a voice to those who may not have one, or cannot express that they need assistance. Now that we have the design rights to these bands, we can begin to make it widely available.”

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