Mak­ing life a lit­tle eas­ier

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By SARAH HAR­VEY

Bright colours, a toy tray and a sprout of leaves might be out of place in most hos­pi­tals but a new de­vice built with chil­dren in mind is about to make Star­ship hos­pi­tal just a lit­tle bit brighter.

The Sprout IV pole, de­signed by AUT Univer­sity post-grad­u­ate stu­dent Neer­ali Parbhu, her­self a for­mer Star­ship pa­tient, is ex­pected to re­de­fine the way child pa­tients in­ter­act with the cru­cial piece of equip­ment used for de­liv­er­ing in­tra­venous flu­ids and medicines.

No longer will chil­dren strug­gle to ma­noeu­vre clunky adult IV poles through doors and cor­ri­dors, or be in­tim­i­dated by scary-look­ing med­i­cal equip­ment, Miss Parbhu says.

She spent about a year in hos­pi­tal as a child with a germ-cell tu­mour and has been in­volved with the Child Can­cer Foun­da­tion since.

The IV pole is a way of ‘‘con­nect­ing my pas­sion for help­ing th­ese chil­dren with my pas­sion for de­sign – it’s a very con­struc­tive way of mak­ing change,’’ she says.

Miss Parbhu says the de­sign is yet to be fi­nalised but a few as­pects, such as a toy tray at the base, curved pole and sprout of leaves at the top are likely to make the fi­nal de­sign.

‘‘It is a child-friendly ob­ject. It is child-sized and much more friendly for the child to be with as op­posed to the orig­i­nal de­signs.’’

The project has been made pos­si­ble by a new re­la­tion­ship be­tween Star­ship, AUT, the Star­ship Foun­da­tion and Mer­cury En­ergy and the poles will be used at Star­ship be­fore hope­fully be­ing adopted by other hos­pi­tals, Miss Parbhu says.

Star­ship di­rec­tor of child health Dr Richard Aickin says the pole will im­prove the ex­pe­ri­ence for chil­dren while in hos­pi­tal.

‘‘Well-de­signed equip­ment like the Sprout IV Pole can be less scary­look­ing for chil­dren, while still meet­ing our clin­i­cal needs.

‘‘We ex­pect it to re­duce stress and add a more play­ful feel to chil­dren’s im­me­di­ate sur­round­ings in hos­pi­tal.’’

Miss Parbhu hopes to test the prod­uct on chil­dren within the next month.

The fi­nal prod­uct is likely to be in hos­pi­tals in the next year.

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