a uSer-centred Approach For improving both healthcare workers and patients conditions during patiEnt-handling MOVEments

About 50 per cent of the reported injuries and illnesses among healthcare workers (nurses, caregivers and nursing support staff) are musculoskeletal disorders, affecting mostly the lower back. They are mainly due to the repetitive and heavy tasks that health workers are required to perform every day, such as handling the patients for lifting, pushing or pulling, and cause a number of drawbacks in terms of quality of life, and job satisfaction, and high costs resulting from lost workdays. On the other hand, the market already offers technological devices for helping perform such tasks, but they are scarcely used by the healthcare workers and scarcely accepted by the patients.

The SAFE-MOVER project has the ambition to in-depth analyse the movements performed during patient handling and the interaction modalities between healthcare workers and patients during manual handling in order to:

  •  investigate the main causes for musculoskeletal disorders
  •  extract gesture descriptors for reproducing the correct movement with a robotic device
  •  assess user subjective perspective
  • design a new technology based on a user-centred approach for significantly reducing the risk and prevent the onset of such disorders while taking care of the patients’ perspective and their need for physical and social interaction with human operators

The new technology will be progressively validated healthy subjects, simulated patients, and at least 1 chronically non-cooperative patient (who suffers from chronic motor impairment) and 1 temporarily non-cooperative patient (who suffers from temporary motor impairment), in an application scenario arranged in the facilities of UCBM hospital. Performance of the overall SAFE-MOVER platform will be assessed by means of quantitative indicators and semi-qualitative tools aimed at evaluating the system effectiveness, functionality, safety and acceptability by the healthy subjects and patients.