Michael Yetter – Independent Project

Michael Yetter – Independent Project

Class of 2017

Introduction to Topic

My project is to help people with disabilities, or issues in their legs, have a more comfortable time getting around in a wheelchair with increased stability.  These people are anybody from somebody paralyzed in their legs, to a senior citizen having minimal control in their legs.  My goal is to change the way wheelchairs secure patient’s legs and feet.

Project Description

I learned a lot in my volunteer experience at MedStar Physical Therapy.  Most of the experiences I journal were about arm care, and arm strengthening.  I felt that was very valuable information and it intrigued me, but that field of study has been very accomplished and filled with great innovations already.  Therefore, I turned to the next most intriguing subject I sought out in the clinic, wheelchairs.  During the 80 valuable hours, I spent volunteering, the people I noticed the most were older folks who were in wheelchairs.  They struggled to get around and always had somebody helping them keep their feet in the footrests.  I felt there had to be a better way to make them more comfortable while being transported in their wheelchair.  I talked to a decent amount of the wheelchair patients and a lot of them agreed with my suspicion that there feet swing around with no control.

Experience Description

Throughout my experience, I met many great people with engaging stories.  The first story I recall was during my experience in the summer.  The man I met was probably in his late 60’s or early 70’s.  He had a minor stroke, and lost some control in his left leg.  He had to walk with a cane, but when he gets tired, he has a wheelchair that he makes his wife push around.  This man had such a good attitude about his situation, and allowed me to pick his brain about flaws in the design of his wheelchair.  Of course, he said he does not like it, and it gets uncomfortable to sit in after an hour or two, but he gave some valuable information.  He talked about his issues going up, and down ramps on a wheelchair.  He expressed that it is quite painful when his feet get caught underneath the wheelchair because of the incline or decline.  

The story I remember the most in my experience was from a man in his mid-30s, that I wrote about one time.  He was working for UPS, and broke both of his ankles while delivering a package.  He had to go into a wheelchair for a couple of weeks, then eventually got onto crutches.  Nevertheless, the man conveyed a displeasure in the way his ankles felt in his wheelchair.  He exclaimed that his foot supports did not help in anyway and his feet would fall straight through.  These conversations confirm my idea that wheelchairs need better leg stability.

One of the main reasons that I have been interested in helping people in wheelchairs is because of my grandmother who had a stroke and was forced into a wheelchair.  She has nearly no control in her legs, and sometimes they get caught in between the foot rests and drag on the floor while being pushed.  She was at an old age home, and had to go to physical therapy to help regain her strength.  Sometimes she would go to physical therapy while I was visiting her and I would tag along.  I compared the physical therapy clinics exercises to the ones that MedStar was using.  While that therapy clinic my grandmother was in helped older people, the techniques were similar.   However, that was not the only thing I noted.  I observed that the leg stability problem everywhere, not just one physical therapy clinic, was constant.

Innovation Description

My innovation solves the problem of bad leg stability in wheelchairs.  The process was tedious, and informative.  The 80 hours of volunteering taught me a lot about the entity of physical therapy, and I gathered the necessary information from great sources to ensure my innovation is the best it can possibly be.  But, before I did this, I talked to my grandfather about the problem, and asked if he had any ideas.  He gave me good feedback and told me to make the innovation accessible to different sized wheelchairs. (Stout, B. (2017). Innovation Talk [Personal Interview]).  Next, I went to my mentor, Steve Luca.  Steve thought the innovation was a great idea, but I have to make sure it is different from anything ever been done.  He gave a good idea to add friction to the foot rests.  This will help patients feet become stabilized (Luca, S. (2017). Innovation Talk [Personal interview]).  

After the process of gaining knowledge from credible sources, I made all the necessary measurements for my innovation, along with gathering all materials needed.  I drew out a rough draft with my grandfather.  These are the materials and measurements listed below:

 

  • 2 Rectangular Hardwood Surfaces – The first will be cut to 16.5 inches in length and 6 inches in width.  The second surface will be cut to 15.25 inches in length and 4 inches in height.  I can go over to Home Depot to get this wood.
  • Conduit Clamps 3/4in – I need 4 of these clamps to put in the 4 corners of the first hardwood surface.  They will be used as the hook, to keep the wood piece connected to the wheelchair.  They provide easy removal for the storing of the wheelchair.
  • Table Saw – This will be used to make the cuts in the hardwood surfaces.  My grandfather has one at his house.  I will easily be able to obtain this and use it correctly from his instruction.
  • Drill – The drill will be used to drill holes into the hardwood surface to screw in the conduit clamps.  My grandfather will allow me to use his that he has in his work shop at his house.
  • Sander – This is used to make the wood surface smooth and gentle.  It prevents any splinters and is easily obtained at Home Depot.

 

My grandfather helped a lot on the building part of the project.  He allowed me to use his workshop at home to accomplish the building of the innovation.  He also helped to make the innovation look professional and standardized.  We stained the wood to create a better texture and professional color.  After making all of the pieces individually, I constructed the innovation piece by piece.

The innovation functions by helping patients in wheelchairs keep their feet stable in the wheelchair.  The gap that is usually in the middle of the footrests of a wheelchair was eliminated with this innovation.  Along with that, patient’s legs cannot fall through the back of the wheelchair.  I installed a board where the calves of the patient rest for comfort.  After that, I stationed wood blocks along the backboard to create a slot for patient’s feet to rest.  These wood blocks generate even more solidity in keeping a patient’s feet and legs secure.  Lastly, I inserted a surface of tremendous friction where the patient’s feet rest.

The innovation can simply be placed on nearly all wheelchairs by the conduit clamps.  It can be installed, and removed in seconds and is an uncomplicated process.  This allows the wheelchair to be folded and transported trouble free.

The closest competitor is the Posey Leg Hugger, and Posey Foot Hugger, talked about before in the research paragraph (The Wright Stuff, 2016).  These products go hand in hand with each other.  If combined, they look similar to my product, but does not act in the same fashion.  The Posey Leg and Foot Hugger are used for patient comfort.  It is a two padded surfaced that takes away the middle gap of regular wheelchair foot rests, and implement a backboard.  But, this does not secure patient’s legs in the wheelchair.  It merely helps with comfort.  Furthermore, my innovation focuses on both securing patient’s feet, along with creating a comfortable position.  However, it focuses more on the securing aspect.  I added sufficient stabilizing materials to the innovation, constructing a superior product.

+ Project Topic

Introduction to Topic

My project is to help people with disabilities, or issues in their legs, have a more comfortable time getting around in a wheelchair with increased stability.  These people are anybody from somebody paralyzed in their legs, to a senior citizen having minimal control in their legs.  My goal is to change the way wheelchairs secure patient’s legs and feet.

+ Project Overview

Project Description

I learned a lot in my volunteer experience at MedStar Physical Therapy.  Most of the experiences I journal were about arm care, and arm strengthening.  I felt that was very valuable information and it intrigued me, but that field of study has been very accomplished and filled with great innovations already.  Therefore, I turned to the next most intriguing subject I sought out in the clinic, wheelchairs.  During the 80 valuable hours, I spent volunteering, the people I noticed the most were older folks who were in wheelchairs.  They struggled to get around and always had somebody helping them keep their feet in the footrests.  I felt there had to be a better way to make them more comfortable while being transported in their wheelchair.  I talked to a decent amount of the wheelchair patients and a lot of them agreed with my suspicion that there feet swing around with no control.

+ Experience

Experience Description

Throughout my experience, I met many great people with engaging stories.  The first story I recall was during my experience in the summer.  The man I met was probably in his late 60’s or early 70’s.  He had a minor stroke, and lost some control in his left leg.  He had to walk with a cane, but when he gets tired, he has a wheelchair that he makes his wife push around.  This man had such a good attitude about his situation, and allowed me to pick his brain about flaws in the design of his wheelchair.  Of course, he said he does not like it, and it gets uncomfortable to sit in after an hour or two, but he gave some valuable information.  He talked about his issues going up, and down ramps on a wheelchair.  He expressed that it is quite painful when his feet get caught underneath the wheelchair because of the incline or decline.  

The story I remember the most in my experience was from a man in his mid-30s, that I wrote about one time.  He was working for UPS, and broke both of his ankles while delivering a package.  He had to go into a wheelchair for a couple of weeks, then eventually got onto crutches.  Nevertheless, the man conveyed a displeasure in the way his ankles felt in his wheelchair.  He exclaimed that his foot supports did not help in anyway and his feet would fall straight through.  These conversations confirm my idea that wheelchairs need better leg stability.

One of the main reasons that I have been interested in helping people in wheelchairs is because of my grandmother who had a stroke and was forced into a wheelchair.  She has nearly no control in her legs, and sometimes they get caught in between the foot rests and drag on the floor while being pushed.  She was at an old age home, and had to go to physical therapy to help regain her strength.  Sometimes she would go to physical therapy while I was visiting her and I would tag along.  I compared the physical therapy clinics exercises to the ones that MedStar was using.  While that therapy clinic my grandmother was in helped older people, the techniques were similar.   However, that was not the only thing I noted.  I observed that the leg stability problem everywhere, not just one physical therapy clinic, was constant.

+ Innovation

Innovation Description

My innovation solves the problem of bad leg stability in wheelchairs.  The process was tedious, and informative.  The 80 hours of volunteering taught me a lot about the entity of physical therapy, and I gathered the necessary information from great sources to ensure my innovation is the best it can possibly be.  But, before I did this, I talked to my grandfather about the problem, and asked if he had any ideas.  He gave me good feedback and told me to make the innovation accessible to different sized wheelchairs. (Stout, B. (2017). Innovation Talk [Personal Interview]).  Next, I went to my mentor, Steve Luca.  Steve thought the innovation was a great idea, but I have to make sure it is different from anything ever been done.  He gave a good idea to add friction to the foot rests.  This will help patients feet become stabilized (Luca, S. (2017). Innovation Talk [Personal interview]).  

After the process of gaining knowledge from credible sources, I made all the necessary measurements for my innovation, along with gathering all materials needed.  I drew out a rough draft with my grandfather.  These are the materials and measurements listed below:

 

  • 2 Rectangular Hardwood Surfaces – The first will be cut to 16.5 inches in length and 6 inches in width.  The second surface will be cut to 15.25 inches in length and 4 inches in height.  I can go over to Home Depot to get this wood.
  • Conduit Clamps 3/4in – I need 4 of these clamps to put in the 4 corners of the first hardwood surface.  They will be used as the hook, to keep the wood piece connected to the wheelchair.  They provide easy removal for the storing of the wheelchair.
  • Table Saw – This will be used to make the cuts in the hardwood surfaces.  My grandfather has one at his house.  I will easily be able to obtain this and use it correctly from his instruction.
  • Drill – The drill will be used to drill holes into the hardwood surface to screw in the conduit clamps.  My grandfather will allow me to use his that he has in his work shop at his house.
  • Sander – This is used to make the wood surface smooth and gentle.  It prevents any splinters and is easily obtained at Home Depot.

 

My grandfather helped a lot on the building part of the project.  He allowed me to use his workshop at home to accomplish the building of the innovation.  He also helped to make the innovation look professional and standardized.  We stained the wood to create a better texture and professional color.  After making all of the pieces individually, I constructed the innovation piece by piece.

The innovation functions by helping patients in wheelchairs keep their feet stable in the wheelchair.  The gap that is usually in the middle of the footrests of a wheelchair was eliminated with this innovation.  Along with that, patient’s legs cannot fall through the back of the wheelchair.  I installed a board where the calves of the patient rest for comfort.  After that, I stationed wood blocks along the backboard to create a slot for patient’s feet to rest.  These wood blocks generate even more solidity in keeping a patient’s feet and legs secure.  Lastly, I inserted a surface of tremendous friction where the patient’s feet rest.

The innovation can simply be placed on nearly all wheelchairs by the conduit clamps.  It can be installed, and removed in seconds and is an uncomplicated process.  This allows the wheelchair to be folded and transported trouble free.

The closest competitor is the Posey Leg Hugger, and Posey Foot Hugger, talked about before in the research paragraph (The Wright Stuff, 2016).  These products go hand in hand with each other.  If combined, they look similar to my product, but does not act in the same fashion.  The Posey Leg and Foot Hugger are used for patient comfort.  It is a two padded surfaced that takes away the middle gap of regular wheelchair foot rests, and implement a backboard.  But, this does not secure patient’s legs in the wheelchair.  It merely helps with comfort.  Furthermore, my innovation focuses on both securing patient’s feet, along with creating a comfortable position.  However, it focuses more on the securing aspect.  I added sufficient stabilizing materials to the innovation, constructing a superior product.

By | 2017-05-12T04:16:37+00:00 May 12th, 2017|Biomed Capstone Project 2017|0 Comments

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