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International design award for novel hospital bed

Posted October 9, 2013

A novel hospital bed designed by University of Canberra graduates for their final-year master’s project recently won an international design award.

Hugh Stehlik and Blake Fenwick were named student winners in the ‘Strategy and Research’ category of the 2013 Core77 Design Awards.

Through consultation with Calvary John James Hospital and The Canberra Hospital, they developed the concept to re-design an intensive care unit (ICU) bed for their final-year Master of Industrial Design coursework project.

Hugh Stehlik and Blake Fenwick were awarded for their intensive care unit hospital bed design.

Hugh Stehlik and Blake Fenwick were awarded for their intensive care unit hospital bed design.

“We focused on improving the space around the ICU beds, an area of design that we discovered is often neglected,” Mr Fenwick said.

“It was pretty humbling to be recognised for our design on an international level. It’s one thing to submit work to our peers and our lecturers, but to submit it at an international level and then win an award was amazing.”

In their design concept they improved storage areas for power boards, pumps and bags, added wireless connectivity options and included bedside screens for privacy or patient information displays. They also incorporated a design element for the bed to form a chair at the press of a button, removing the need for a separate chair to aid in recovery.

“Initially it was a research project to look at the problems and a few solutions, but it became obvious to us that the best way to solve the problems was to build a new hospital bed that included new technology and good design elements for patients and staff,” Mr Stehlik said.

“We discovered key problems with the current ICU bed designs, namely that there is a huge amount of equipment around the bed, which could be better stored to give staff proper access to the patient.

“Staff also like to get patients into a recliner chair to aid recovery, so we thought rather than them have to move the patient out of the bed into a separate chair, we could make a bed that was easily foldable into a chair.”

The 12-month project involved the students spending time in ICU at both hospitals, undertaking extensive literature research and then designing the concept. Mr Fenwick said they now hope their design will make it into production.

“Hopefully with the international exposure from the award it will bring some of our ideas into the real-world. After a year-long research and design process, we wanted to make a product that was worthwhile and would make a difference and we’re very satisfied with the result.”

Source: University of Canberra

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