Heromed is designed for pediatric hospitals and helps children to undergo artificial nutrition therapies by matching therapy’s duration with the playtime. It helps in this way solving the problems related to child’s physical and psychological constraints.
La tua ispirazione
The experience of hospitalization for children is a trauma that is difficult to overcome, especially in cases of artificial nutrition, as it has a prolonged duration. For children, all the therapies that make use of the phleboclysis, are heavy to tolerate and cause fear. Many activities are carried out in the hospital to distract the children during the treatment, including pet therapy and clown therapy. We were inspired by the Children's Hospital's Los Angeles project (2017) that involved Marvel movies actors to visit patients. From this case we focused on superheroes to make children feel stronger during hospital therapies.
Heromed is divided in two parts: the Vest and the "Armor". The Vest is the wearable medical device for artificial nutrition. It has a front opening in which the required instruments for performing the therapy are contained. It is made of cotton, a material resistant to hospital sterilization cycles, as it will be reused for more patients. The armor works as a protection for the infusion mechanism. It is made in pulp and can be customized by the child who can color on it. We have also created a support system for the armor customization process by designing a book containing stickers that represent superheroes and their superpowers. This gives the child the chance to identify himself with the superhero he wants to be. After the hospitalization period is over, the custom armor will be taken home by the child as an emotional memory.
Processo di progettazione
Many medical devices currently used in pediatric hospitals are not designed for children as they don’t consider their emotional sphere. We therefore performed preliminary research by visiting some departments of a pediatric hospital, collecting information about the preparation and execution of artificial nutrition therapy. Our first goal was to remove the I.V. pole and we decided to make this medical aid wearable. Through various prototypes and tests we reached an effective solution by integrating the drip system inside a vest. As for the psychological aspect, inspired by the superheroes, we created an armor that can be customized by the child. During the research phase, we submitted several questionnaires to classes in the Primary School Malaspina in Ascoli Piceno (Italy) to understand how children imagine superheroes and we took inspiration from their representations to create the stickers. The first prototypes were made of cardboard, then to make the armor adhere better to the body, we made papier-mâché prototypes. The final prototype was made with the 3D printer in polymeric material.
In che modo è differente?
It has the function of alleviating the hospitalization period through play. Children don’t notice the duration of the therapy because they're committed to creating their own armor and interacting with each other by playing. The playful activities connected with Heromed vest help shifting children attention away from the negative emotions that an uncomfortable environment can generate. Children become more open towards medical therapies, lightening the caregiving burden of the caregiver and the health personnel. It's user-friendly,innovative and a safe medical device. It's user-friendly because the armor takes on an affective value as it becomes its personalized superhero armor and an element of interaction with other patients. It's innovative because it makes the infusion device less cumbersome and comfortable because it's wearable. It's safe because the rigid armor works as a protection for the instruments used for therapy and for the central venous catheter.
Progetti per il futuro
Heromed needs to be tested in the field through prototypes with a functioning IV system. Our project aims to be the beginning of a series of hospital aids for children, focused on combining them with games and playful activities with same duration as the therapies they are designed for.