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From fallen to seated in minutes: Evaluating a new portable lifting device with Felgains

A young carer assisting an older person to use a mobility aid

When care equipment provider Felgains became a distributor of the Raizer 2 chair, a portable lifting device to lift people after a fall, their Managing Director, Sam Webber, asked ARU to validate its effectiveness.

Before the release of Raizer 2, an inflatable cushion, the Mangar Elk (Emergency Lifting Cushion), Eagle or Camel was typically the product of choice by the UK ambulance service. However, there are some negative aspects to inflatable cushions, including instability, placement and battery life.

Felgains wanted to assess the comfort and functional design of the Raizer 2 chair and whether this made for a better patient experience, so they commissioned ARU Senior Lecturers Dr Dan Robbins and Nathan Cusack, from the Biomechanics, Optics, Robotics and Imaging Research Group (BORI), to evaluate the benefits of the chair.

To start the project, Dan and Nathan worked closely with Felgains to establish their requirements and engaged ARU's Research and Innovation Development Office (RIDO) to help agree a timescale and costs.

With an agreement in place and project scope defined, Dan and Nathan then established a method, using the REBA (Rapid Entire Body Assessment) score, which is a scientifically validated process used to provide a risk assessment score following an ergonomical examination. This process would give a clear score for each lifting device to enable comparison.

A learning experience

As senior lecturers, Dan and Nathan were keen to involve ARU students in this study, to give them the experience of doing an evaluation and to help with the assessment.

To ensure familiarity with the manual handling techniques and correct use of lifting equipment, they recruited eight volunteer paramedics and student paramedics who had completed a clinical placement and the manual handling training required for ARU’s BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science.

Getting hands-on

To compare the user experience of being lifted by the Raizer 2 chair, Mangar Elk and Manger Eagle, an analysis was completed within the Biomechanical Laboratory at ARU, with data collected as part of the process.

Eight participants without any form of musculoskeletal conditions acted as both representative manual handlers and people being lifted. During the lifting process, data was collected simultaneously from eight 3D motion capture cameras (Vicon, Oxford UK), and a 2D Camera (Samsung Galaxy Tab A7).

During and after the lift, participants were asked to provide verbal feedback about the smoothness of the lift and how stable they felt on the lifting device. The 3D motion analysis data was used to monitor the path of the upward trajectory of the participant lifted, and the 2D data was used to complete the REBA analysis.

The combined data provided an overview on the movement that occurred, how the movement was perceived by the participant being lifted, and the risk of musculoskeletal disorders associated with specific tasks using the tools.

"ARU were able to produce a report that could evidence the ergonomic benefits of the Raizer chair over traditional lifting equipment. They were able to use specialist equipment in ARU’s Biomechanical Laboratory which we wouldn’t have had access to without this consultancy project.

"Our company found the process of working with ARU very easy and it was good value for money. I would certainly recommend ARU to other businesses."

Sam Webber
Managing Director, Felgains