Swansea Bay Health Charity, the official charity of Swansea Bay University Health board, have been able to fund materials to support the production of devices to help people with disabilities across South Wales.
Using state of the art 3D printing, and working in collaboration with Swansea University, Jonathan Howard, clinical scientist at rehabilitation engineering based at Morriston Hospital, has been able to produce life changing designs to support participants through the project.
Jonathan explained “I’m doing a PhD through Swansea University and the funding we have received through the charity has allowed us to look at our research involving the end user in the design of their own assistive technology. The devices that we are designing have been using cutting edge technology such as 3D printing and computer aided design which allows us to customise the devices to the users’ needs.”
Georgia Sinclair, who has hemiplegia, which is paralysis of the left hand side of her body, is one participant who has been benefitting from the project. She said “I have struggled with trying to get independent again, and Jonathan has been designing products for me to become more independent, such as to help me do my hair. For me, the struggle with being a disabled person is that you lack independence on things that you know are so simple, and this project has given that back to me. I have become a lot more independent and I don’t have to ask people to do things for me. It has benefited me a lot.”
Another participant, Daniel Jones, who only has the use of one hand due to cerebral palsy, also spoke of the benefits of the project. “This project has had a massive impact on me. One of the things that has been designed for me is a deodorant holder. Because I can’t use my right hand, I was unable to get the deodorant under my left armpit but the holder has allowed me to do that. It has given me so much more control, which is a massive help to me.”
As a result of the successes and positive feedback from the participants, the project has been nominated for The Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine award for innovation in healthcare science in the UK Advancing Healthcare Awards 2022 with the award ceremony due to take place on 8th April.
Deborah Longman, Head of Fundraising at Swansea Bay Health Charity, said “Innovative projects like this are exactly the kind of thing that makes me proud of the fundraising we do here at Swansea Bay. Being able to support these participants and make tangible improvements to their lives would not be possible without the kind and generous donations from our supporters. Jonathan is an outstanding scientist, who is passionate about his work, and by working together it makes a real difference. We wish Jonathan every success at the award ceremony.”
The participants have kindly shared their benefits on a video, which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSQK20sP1eE