Long term catheter use is a standard treatment that affects millions of people across Europe each year. Urine is collected externally in external drainage bag, typically held in a simple wireframe. These bags and frames cause many difficulties in handling and emptying and cause particular distress and stigmatisation through the visibility of up to 1.5L of urine and a very obvious hospital item at home.
Overnight urine bag stands have remained largely unchanged for decades. It is often, though not exclusively older people, receiving care at home who are on a long-term catheter plan and use overnight bag stands. Embarrassment at both the display of bag contents and the practical challenges of removing the bag from the wireframe and emptying safely in the toilet is very real.
Added to this are the very real issues of sustainability and waste, an issue of increasing awareness at hospitals around the world. There is little economic incentive for manufacturers to address this problem and hospitals have few options in addressing the problems described.
Shield is a simple and low-cost redesign that utilises recycled single-use disposable plastic sterilisation tray wraps and drapes, commonly used in hospital operating theatre’s. The design replaces a design that has not changed in 50 years, it provides a firm stable platform, an easy to empty and easy to handle drainage bag, and discreetly hides the contents from view.
Shield is a simple product that provides stability and security to a 2L drainage bag whilst simultaneously allowing for more discreet use in a domestic setting. Use of recycled hospital waste material, specifically single-use disposable sterilisation tray wraps and drapes used in operating theatre’s that would otherwise be incinerated are recycled to produces a sterile material in sheet and granular form with a unique surface finish that is suited to use in a more domestic environment. This ultra low-cost materials is processed to produce Shield in finishes that vary, creating unique finishes which are dependent on the colour and mix of the recycled polypropylene material.
The product is stable in use and through its simple clean form unobtrusively sits next to a bed or chair at home. The bag with easy-grip, secure handle is designed for use by weakened and arthritic hands that may need to carry up to 2kg of fluid and lifts straight out to be easily carried to the bathroom before release with an easy turn large surface drainage tap. This approach avoids the current system of removing from wire lugs and attempting to carry, often in two hands a full bag that can leak and is difficult to empty without spilling.
Shield provides a relatively simple solution to a patient-centred problem that has existed for over 50 years. The simple, clean snap together construction allows easy assembly by unskilled labour and its use of a recycled hospital waste material provided free by hospital trusts when approached from a circular economy perspective creates a highly functional material at very little additional energy consumption and cost.