LISTOWEL-WINGHAM – As competition for scarce health human resources increases, the Listowel Wingham Hospitals Alliance (LWHA) has recognized that engaging with post-secondary educational institutions will have increasing importance in attracting new talent.
Recently, LWHA partnered with University of Guelph engineering students who were providing potential solutions to ongoing challenges in hospitals.
“One of the issues that we have in all hospitals in the province is patient and visitor falls,” said LWHA Chief Executive Officer Karl Ellis. “So we shared our data with them and they enthusiastically tackled this challenge of how to address patient falls in hospitals and came up with everything from a new design of a handrail for washrooms that would accommodate patients of different size and reach and an adjustable IV pole that allowed patients to maintain their normal walking posture and gait while managing an IV pole with pump.
“It was quite creative what the group of students came up with.”
According to Ellis, because this is the first time the program has been done the next stages are a little uncertain.
“A couple of the ideas I would suggest were robust enough that they’ve got some potential for further development,” he said. “I know the engineering school was going to look at how to support those students in developing those ideas further to the point that they might be a commercially viable project.”
One of the challenges they had was that they were trying to do this in the middle of the pandemic, so the opportunity for the students to visit the hospital site was limited.
“There was a lot of WebEx meetings,” said Ellis. “I suspect they would have had a far different experience if they would have had the opportunity to come onto our sites… They came up with some really creative things. I’m hoping they can take them to the next step.”
Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner