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Product Design Showcase: The Technology Behind the Products

December 1, 2002
by root
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A Nursing Homes/Long Term Care Management Sampling
PRODUCT DESIGN SHOWCASE

The Technology Behind the Products
A NURSING HOMES/LONG TERM CARE MANAGEMENT SAMPLING Long-term care is a product-rich service. It's possible that no other sector in healthcare uses such a wide array of products, ranging from high-tech cardiac-care devices to furniture to food to wound dressings. Often overlooked, though, is the sheer amount of research effort and expense that underlies many of these products. [For a look at a full-blown research lab devoted to incontinence pad research, for example, see the story on SCA Hygiene's operation: "How One Manufacturer Takes On the Challenge of Incontinence," August 1999, p. 50.]

Recently, Nursing Homes/Long Term Care Management focused on a sampling of particularly innovative new products and asked their manufacturers to describe the research-and-development process behind them. These are by no means the only products in the field deserving such attention, but they offer a powerful illustration of the thought and hard work that go into the long-term care technology that steadily improves resident care. Caliwel Paint-Antimicrobial Wall and Ceiling Covering Alis A. Yeterian, President, Alistagen Corp.: "Our chairman, Bryan Glynson, is of Greek-Italian descent, and I grew up in Istanbul, Turkey. Why is this relevant? Because in that area of the world, you very commonly see people whitewashing their homes. Whitewash contains calcium hydroxide, which acts as a disinfectant. I remember never being sick as a child because our father was always whitewashing our homes. The problem is that whitewash, or lime, turns to chalk in three weeks and loses its disinfectant effect. The question was, would it be possible to encapsulate calcium hydroxide so that the effect would last much longer? Many companies have tried, and the fact that we succeeded, I consider a gift.

"Using BNA (bioneutral-izing agent) encapsulating technology, Caliwel maintains its antimicrobial activity for six years. We have been researching this with Southwest Research of San Antonio since 1995 and had our first breakthrough in 1997. Government research continues and, post-9/11, Caliwel was tested, and continues to be tested, against anthrax spores and was found to neutralize at least 70% of them in 48 hours; further testing is expected to yield even better results. Meanwhile, research continues on indoor air quality impact.

"Caliwel is effective against bacteria, viruses, mold, and mildew. It can be very effective for nursing homes that have odor problems; no disinfectants or sanitizers are needed for cleaning walls. We will eventually be including BNA technology in other products, including dental applications and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) applications, including air-conditioning ducts."

For more information, phone (212) 317-0100 or e-mail information@alistagen.com. The Carendo-Multi-Purpose Shower Chair Greg Gale, Director of Marketing, Arjo, Inc.: "A few years ago our Netherlands-based company identified some serious ergonomic issues with resident showering procedures. Studies showed that postural loads on caregivers' backs increased to very high and dangerous levels when they were showering residents in standard PVC shower chairs. They had to do a lot of bending and reaching, and they had difficulty reaching such areas as the resident's feet or perineal areas. From the resi-dent's standpoint, he or she typically had to be placed in bed to be undressed, transported to the shower in a robe or blanket, and then often strapped to the shower chair to avoid slumping over-in short, a lot of serious dignity and comfort issues.

"The Carendo is designed to lift and tilt the resident to the position needed for convenient cleansing of all body areas, easy drying off, easy dressing and undressing, and removal and insertion of incontinence pads during the showering process. Back strain is reduced by more than half, and only one caregiver is needed. Residents can undergo this process in comfort and dignity.

"Industrial designer Per Nylander, who worked with Arjo on the Carendo in a three-year development process, said he tried to 'associate the shape of this with the classic chair to help the elderly feel safe and secure in spite of all the techniques involved with this product.' Other uses have emerged for the Carendo, as well, including expediting dental procedures, catheter insertion, and foot care."

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