Our frontline teams make hundreds of lateral transfers each year when helping patients move. Whether it is to move patients between units or appointments, or to facilitate bathing or changes to bedding, these transfers are a routine part of any hospital’s day. Yet, despite their commonality, transfers can pose challenges for staff, who often require additional team members to physically support transferring or repositioning a patient. Though it may seem simple, staff members risk injury to themselves during lifts, and the process can be uncomfortable for patients.
This year, Bruyère will be piloting the ALTA Platform™ by Able Innovations in complex care units at Saint-Vincent Hospital, as part of a research project led by Paula Doering and Martin Bilodeau, PhD. The ALTA is a robotic patient transfer device, akin to a standard hospital bed, that leverages an automated sliding platform to transfer a laying patient from bed to ALTA, and back again. Where two or more staff were previously needed, the ALTA enables a single team member to reposition or transfer a patient in a safe and dignified manner.
The platform represents a new solution to an old problem; one that researchers at the Bruyère Research Institute have had a hand in shaping. Bruce Wallace, investigator with the Bruyère Research Institute and Executive Director of the AGE-WELL SAM3 National Innovation Hub including the smart apartment, specializes in sensors and smart technology to support aging independence. His team’s work with Jayiesh Singh, CEO of Able Innovations, in the company’s early days has helped bring the device from idea to prototype to the platform it is today.
Over the course of the project, Bruyère will be evaluating the ALTA Platform’s ability to make patient transfers effortless, less time consuming, and safer for both staff and patients. Having the ability to test the platform in a real hospital setting allows the research team to see what the true potential for impact is on patient care and staff satisfaction in our unique environment.
As a part of this innovation pilot, Bruyère invited staff, patients, and visitors to see the technology up close as our staff members received training with the platform. While getting familiar with the platform is a natural part of testing new technologies, having an opportunity for early and iterative feedback on the project and on the platform is a valuable part of our process.
This collaborative project with industry partners is made possible thanks to our partnership with OBIO EAHN (Early Access Health Network) and ongoing support from AGE-WELL. With the opportunity to share findings from our pilot with other hospitals and care providers, we hope the potential for positive impact that the ALTA Platform can have will reach patients and staff across Canada and worldwide.
The bed rolls out onsite this week.