Clinical engineers in Cardiff and Vale University Health Board designed a one-off (custom-made) garment for a patient with a tracheostomy tube who relied on a ventilator to help them breathe. The garment secured the tubing that connected the tracheostomy to the ventilator, and stopped it from moving and causing discomfort at the patient’s throat. As this patient seemed to benefit so much from this garment, the NHS engineers collaborated with a Welsh company to redesign a prototype for commercial production. This clinical evaluation study was designed to see if the TrachVest garment was safe and had benefits for other similar patients.
Patients in critical care who have a tracheostomy and require a ventilator, may still be able to get up and move about the unit. This mobilisation is important in helping patients to recover. In this small, mixed methods study, a TrachVest is used to secure the ventilator tubing when physiotherapists help these patients to mobilise. The study uses observations and staff and patient surveys to find out what the benefits and drawbacks of using TrachVest might be. The data is also used to help improve the design of the garment.
The funding for this project is designed to bring together universities, NHS, and industry, to create products with clinical benefits and economic potential. Dr Susan Peirce is a Cardiff University researcher in Cedar and is funded to provide the academic expertise and study support to the NHS team. She helped design the study and create the study documentation, alongside the physiotherapy team and garment designers. She will conduct the data collection and analysis, and conduct a simple early health economic analysis to determine potential cost benefits and willingness-to-pay.