New device helps free nurses from checking on patients' wounds for bleeding

Mr Ching Tsz Him, one of the students who also designed the Fuga Digital Chest Drain Device,  with Bward Real-time Blood Sensing and Wound monitoring Device.
Mr Ching Tsz Him, one of the students who also designed the Fuga Digital Chest Drain Device, with Bward Real-time Blood Sensing and Wound monitoring Device.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

SINGAPORE - A new device promises to free nurses from having to check for bleeding in their patients every 15 minutes after they have had tubes removed.

The device, which has a diameter of 4cm and a height of 1.7cm, is to be placed over a wound dressing. If it detects blood, it will set off an alarm and alert the nurses' station.

Called BWard, it was developed by students of the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) in a three-year partnership between the school and Eastern Health Alliance.

The device is one of 13 projects worth a total of $2.2 million funded by SUTD and the Eastern Health Alliance, which includes Changi General Hospital, polyclinics and the Health Promotion Board.

The BWard and two other projects, which have been patented in Singapore, were presented on Monday (Jan 9) at an event at SUTD's campus in Changi.

 

During the event, SUTD and the alliance extended their partnership for another five years with a Memorandum of Understanding.

The BWard, which is in a prototyping phase, is used mainly for patients who have catheters inserted in their veins for dialysis.

Dr Chionh Chang Yin, chief consultant of the Department of Renal Medicine at Changi General Hospital, worked with the students on the device. He said: "It would save 1½ to two hours in monitoring time, so we can deploy nurses for more complex procedures."

Usually, nurses have to check on patients every 15 minutes for the first two hours after they have had catheters removed. In total, manual monitoring takes six hours, he said.

Continuous monitoring through the device reduces the chances of delayed detection, he added. Also, nurses will not need to expose patients' groin areas, where catheters are usually inserted, adding to patient comfort.

SUTD graduate Terry Ching, 25, who worked on the device, said the team tried to ensure it was compact and sensitive to blood.

Of the other two projects which received patents, one is a drainage device which automates the removal of excess fluid in the lungs.

Mr Chin Joon Keat, 24, who worked on the device for his final-year project, said the current method of removing fluid involves inserting a chest tube into a patient's pleural cavity. This requires trained personnel to monitor the procedure and is time-consuming, he added.

The third project which got a patent is a lung simulation model for education, said to be more realistic than those in the market.

Group chief executive of Eastern Health Alliance, Dr Lee Chien Earn, said: "These projects have the potential of transforming the way care is delivered."