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CareLab


CareLab consists of a simulated patient care environment for research purposes based on a typical hospital single patient room.

Research teams use CareLab as part of development and testing of products to reduce caregiver and patient injuries, improve patient outcomes and to reduce the transmission of infections. Caregiver injury prevention due to patient lifting includes development of products that make it easier to insert a sling under patients who require the use of a mechanical lifting device to move into and out of bed. An overhead fall detection system, similar to the system in HomeLab, has been tested in CareLab for use in hospital and nursing home environments including a specialized dementia unit at Toronto Rehab. CareLab is also used for the development and testing of the Buddy Badge hand hygiene system (Hygienic Echo), a wearable electronic badge system that reminds frontline staff to wash their hands when entering or exiting patient areas. Ongoing development using simulated caregiver activities in CareLab focuses on adding intelligent prompting to allow us to identify caregiver activities and risk more precisely.

Prolonged bed rest without repositioning can lead to pressure injuries. Preventive measures focus on education and the need for frequent repositioning. Many caregivers do not understand the detrimental effects of pressure injuries until it is too late and find it difficult to adhere to repositioning schedules to prevent pressure injuries. Research in CareLab to develop the Pressure Injury Management and Education System (PrIME) will help provide education and prompting to those at risk of developing pressure injuries and their caregivers who look after them.

Recent Research

CareLab is used as part of the development and testing of products used to reduce the transmission of hospital-acquired infections – about half of these infections result from inadequate hand hygiene. The Buddy Badge System is made up of a small wearable wireless receiver, the Buddy Badge, instrumented alcohol gel and soap dispensers and ceiling-mounted beacons which together discreetly remind busy users to perform hand hygiene. New research will add Artificial Intelligence (AI) to our hand hygiene system that will give it capabilities that are novel. CareLab allows us to use a fully functional simulation of a patient care room with bathroom. Simulations of caregiver (e.g. nurse) activities will be used to develop algorithms for detecting the caregivers' activities in patient rooms. This information will be used to determine a caregiver or patient’s exposure risk to infection.

CareLab has been the site of the development and testing of the Pressure Injury Management and Education System (PrIME). The system is comprised of four sensors that are placed under the legs of the bed. Using artificial intelligence, this system is able to detect an individual’s position in bed with 94% accuracy. The accompanying App provides information to the caregiver and those at risk of developing pressure injuries on key topics that have been informed by end users. Topic areas include what pressure injuries are, how they develop, how to prevent them, and how to engage in offloading behaviour. New research will be determining more precise positions in bed and will providing prompts when the individual has remained in one position for too long.

Equipment Highlights

CareLab includes an ensuite bathroom, an overhead lift system and hospital bed. The Easy Range (ER) StandEasy Pole System is installed at the bedside. The ER StandEasy system is a support pole developed at Kite that is attached to the wall, making it suitable for hospitals and facilities that have false ceilings (https://hartmobility.com/). The ER StandEasy is designed to allow patients to get in and out of bed independently.

Quick Facts

  • Musculoskeletal injuries account for over half of lost-time injuries to professional Personal Support Workers (PSW’s) and are primarily attributed to lifting and moving patients.
  • About one-third of patients older than 70 years and hospitalized for a medical illness are discharged with a new disability that was not present before the hospital admission, including the loss of ability to get in and out of bed. An assistive device such as a pole at the bedside may allow greater independence and prevent or reduce loss of function while in hospital.
  • Hospital-acquired infections kill about 1,500 patients each week in North America and about 8,000 patients each year in Canada. Approximately half of hospital-acquired infections are due to inadequate hand hygiene.
  • Pressure injuries are mostly preventable, and yet they impact one in four individuals across our healthcare system in Canada. 15% of individuals in the homecare setting develop a pressure injury. Secondary complications of pressure injuries include infection and death.

Recent Publications

  • Pong S, Holliday P, Fernie G. Effect of electronic real-time prompting on hand hygiene behaviors in health care workers. Am J Infect Control 2018;46:768-774.
  • Pong S, Holliday P, Fernie G. Secondary measures of hand hygiene performance in health care available with continuous electronic monitoring of individuals. Am J Infect Control 2019;47(1):38-44.
  • Pong S, Holliday P, Fernie G. Effect of intermittent deployment of an electronic monitoring system on hand hygiene behaviors in healthcare workers. Am J Infect Control 2019;47:376-380
  • Wong G, Gabison S, Dolatabadi E, Evans G, Kajaks T, Holliday P, Alshaer H, Fernie G, Dutta T. 2020. Toward Mitigating Pressure Injuries: Detecting Patient Orientation from Vertical Bed Reaction Forces. Journal of Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Engineering 7; 1-12. DOI: 10.1177/2055668320912168.
  • 5. Takami, S., Bulandres, P., Choi, J., D'Ortenzio, D., Moon, N., Musselman, K., & Gabison, S. (2020). The use of a mobile educational tool on pressure injury education for individuals living with spinal cord injury/disease: A qualitative research study Disability and Rehabilitation(June 4), 1-10. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2020.1771780

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