Friday, 29 April 2016

Wearable monitors for patients following discharge from an Intensive Care Unit; practical lessons learnt from an observational study

Robyn Gallagher, Editor

Technological advances and availability of wearable devices for real-time monitoring of health have provided an opportunity to free patients from their bed during recovery and allow nurses to use remote monitoring. However, if the devices are need to be worn continually, then device attachment, weight and comfort become crucial to adoption in practice. For instance, slimline physical activity trackers worn on the wrist are likely to be more acceptable than larger devices worn on the upper arm or on chest halter. A paper by Jeffs et al. (2016) and published in JAN provides insights into one such device (Hidalgo EQO2 Sensor Electronics Module) which provides real-time monitoring of ECG, SpO2, skin temperature and activity (triaxial accelerometer). The study demonstrated the difficulties for Intensive Care Unit patients, few of whom persisted with wearing the device for their full rehabilitation stay. Discomfort and irritation were key issues due to the prevalence of chest, neck and arm wounds and skin damage in contact with the device. The impact of obesity may also be an increasingly important consideration for device design. Changes to the method used to attach the device, including location and harness, were undertaken, but acceptability was still a problem. This study underlines the key role nurses can play in designing devices that can be realistically translated into practice.


Reference

Jeffs E., Vollam S., Young J.D., Horsington L., Lynch B. & Watkinson P.J. (2016) Wearable monitors for patients following discharge from an intensive care unit: practical lessons learnt from an observational study. Journal of Advanced Nursing. doi: 10.1111/jan.12959

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