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Local student designs children’s hospital equipment

Children receiving physiotherapy at York Hospital can now benefit from new specialised equipment thanks to the talents of a local student. 

Seventeen year old Hannah Whitehouse, a sixth form student at St Peter’s school in York, has designed an adjustable set of steps especially made for children to help with physiotherapy rehabilitation.

The equipment is part of Hannah’s A level course in product design which involved identifying a real need that can be solved with a practical solution.

Hannah approached the Child Development Centre at York Hospital to find out whether there was anything she could help with. After meeting with paediatric physiotherapist Katie Graver, they came up with the idea of the training steps.

Hannah said: “I was looking for a project with a purpose that would really help people. I was given a description of the product and went away and came up with the design.

“It was a great project to work on, not just because it was so interesting, but also because it was more like having real clients where I had to consult with the team and make adjustments to the design as I went along. Working with the hospital has been really rewarding.”

Equipment in a hospital has to meet specific requirements to pass rigorous  health and safety and infection prevention standards. Faced with these restrictions Hannah designed adjustable handrails to cater for children of different heights, non-slip laminate steps and wipe clean handrails.

The equipment is already in use and helping patients on a daily basis.

Physiotherapist Katie Graver said: “The children love it. Hannah has incorporated all we asked for and we are absolutely delighted. There is even a buzzer for patients to ring as a reward when they get up the stairs which works really well. It’s been great working with Hannah, she is welcome any time - we have a list of products ready for designing!”

Hannah’s previous projects include a flat pack table and a mirror with storage. She intends to build on her skills this September when she starts a course in textiles design at Birmingham City University.

10 June 2015

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