A high-dependency paediatric wheelchair was a finalist at the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) Innovation Awards 2013.
The Chair 4 Life, an adaptable wheelchair for children with high dependency needs competed against other leading medical innovations in the Healthcare Technologies category at the awards in London.
One of the key features of the Chair 4 Life is a vertical lift which allows the children eye-to-eye interaction with their peers, which improves dignity and independence.
The chair was built by design specialists Renfrew Group International, who won a National Innovation Centre competition to develop the idea based on feedback from children with high-dependency needs.
One of the key things which makes the Chair 4 Life unique is that it can be easily updated and modified through a series of attachments and components, which reduces the need to renew the entire wheelchair as the child grows, reducing clinic time and costs.
The National Institute for Health Research Devices for Dignity Healthcare Technology Co-operative (NIHR D4D HTC) was a partner in the first phase of the Chair 4 Life project.
The aim of the project was to build a chair which would incorporate the most complex equipment needs such as ventilators and oxygen cylinders, but allow children to leave hospital and be able to get out and about safely, confidently and more independently.
NIHR D4D HTC collected thoughts and ideas about design and functionality from children with high dependency needs through a series of workshops which put the children’s requirements at the forefront of the chair design. These workshops were arranged with Frazer-Nash Consultancy and hosted by the disabled children’s’ charity Whizz-Kidz.
Nicola Heron, Programme Manager of NIHR D4D HTC, said: “I’m really proud that an innovation which NIHR D4D HTC played such a key part in creating has been recognised. Children who are confined to a chair need to be able to feel dignified and independent and the Chair 4 Life gives them this.”
The IET awards were held at The Brewery, London.
To find out more visit www.theiet.org/awards