Flo2w is a new way of delivering oxygen to a patient. It eliminates many problems that are associated with the current device. The device is fitted on the patients head using the adjustable headpiece. It has an adjustability range from the 5th percentile female to the 95th percentile male. The headpiece is single patient use only but it does not need to be disposed of at weekly intervals. Instead the tubing carrying the oxygen can be easily clipped on and off. As this is classed as clinical waste, it must be disposed but the headpiece can be easily cleaned, through alcohol or gamma sterilisation and reused for that patient meaning less material being incinerated. It eliminates the big, intimidating, one size fits all mask that is currently being used. The subtle design makes the user feel as if they are not even wearing it. The oxygen is supplied to the patient through nasal tubing. There are sculpted nose buds that fit snug into the patient’s nose to give a more comfortable feel and it is also more efficient than the current masks. The system integrates a new form of regulating oxygen in an innovative and easy way for both the patient and health care professional.
The inspiration for this project came from my father, he was in hospital for over 8 months. It was here that I noticed the amount of issues with the current respiratory masks. The flimsy strap that was poorly attached to the mask kept loosening and after a period of time, the strap was causing pain above the ear. In addition to this, the top of the mask was causing pain at the bridge of the nose and led to skin sores developing in this area. I also observed that some of the oxygen was escaping out the sides of the mask and blowing into the patient’s eyes therefore the efficiency of the mask was poor. Fitting the mask to the patient can be problematic; it normally required two nurses to do such a job. One nurse needed to lift the patients head while the other nurse secured the mask onto the head. Depending on the patient’s injury, this way of fitting the device may be very awkward and cumbersome. A big issue was how intimidating the mask was to the patient. It was hard for him to speak and hard for us to understand him. It created almost a barrier between us.
Once the inspiration for the project was found, I began looking at the current approach of respiratory therapy and what problems were associated with this. I interviewed some users of these devices and got their opinions. I felt it was necessary to go through the set up myself and I undertook an empathy trial, I wore the mask in a hospital environment for over 30 minutes and it was very unsettling. The next phase was conceptualisation with lots of sketching and prototyping. A number of working prototypes were built and tested. I used the prototype in a hospital environment and found it much better. I was also getting help from a respiratory nurse within the college and she also approved of the design. Fine tuning the design came after this again with lots more sketching and prototyping. As this was a final year project, a visual model was required. The model was made using fibre glass putty and moulded to a mannequin’s head. This was worked down to a high standard and it was sprayed to give that glossy medical look.