East Greenwich, RI, December 17, 2011 --(PR.com
)-- One thing no one wants to give or receive this holiday season…is an infection that can make us very sick, or worse. The CDC says infections we get in the hospital are the nation’s 4th biggest cause of death. But now a new device is available to give patients a fighting chance against these infections. The “Patient Pod,” developed by a woman who lost her father to an infection in the hospital, recently made its debut.
The device, which can clip onto a bedrail, wheelchair, or walker, provides patients with hand hygiene tools, a communication system, and a place to keep personal items in a germ-free environment to avoid potential infection.
Nationally, hospital-acquired infections kill about 100,000 people a year - more than breast cancer, car accidents, and AIDS combined, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Patient Pod was developed by Pat Mastors, a former TV news anchor. She was motivated to develop the device following the death of her father in 2006 as a result of complications from a hospital-acquired infection called Clostridium difficile.
“Spending long hours by my father's bedside was eye-opening, on every level," Mastors says. "I had no idea in real time just how vulnerable, anonymous, and frightening it is to be a patient." It was only after losing her father that Mastors began researching a way to equip patients to be more empowered. "We started by asking: if hand hygiene is so important in the hospital, why is it that everyone else can reach the hand sanitizer – except the patient?” Mastors also wanted to provide a secure place for a patient’s eyeglasses, cell phone, hearing aids and other personal items. “I learned hospital lost-and-founds are full of these items,” Mastors says. “Imagine surviving major surgery…only to go home without your hearing aids, eyeglasses or dentures. This kind of thing erodes not just your health...but your dignity and your spirit.”
Mastors’ company, Pear Health LLC of East Greenwich, RI, partnered with Fuzion Design of Pawtucket to develop the product. A military and children’s version of the Patient Pod is now in development.
In trials conducted with patients and caregivers, 100 percent of caregivers survey said that if hospitalized, they would want the Patient Pod for themselves.
The CEO of Kent Hospital in Warwick, RI, Sandra Coletta, enthusiastically endorses the product. She has made it available for free to all patients of Kent’s Affinity Physicians medical group who choose elective surgery at Kent Hospital. Coletta’s own mother used the Patient Pod recently during her hospitalization. “It’s like bringing a friend to the hospital with you,” Coletta says. “Familiar and comforting, in a place where nothing you touch is yours.”
Mastors also recently distributed the Pods - with a few added toys - to patients at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence. "The kids thought the Pods were cool, but the parents were so appreciative on a whole different level. It was a joy to put these things in the patients' hands," Mastors says.
Mastors says the Patient Pod will be undergoing clinical trials as part of a “coaching” process to reduce readmission rates. (Currently one in five patients is re-hospitalized within 30 days of discharge, according to CMS, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, at a cost of $25 billion annually.) “By providing a “constant” for the patient throughout care transitions,” says Mastors, “a patient can always locate and access medical records, medications and other items that get lost or misplaced after discharge. These simple steps alone can make a big difference."
“We’re excited to provide a new tool to engage patients as team members in having better health experiences…and ultimately, saving lives,” Mastors says.
For more information about Patient Pod, go to www.thepatientpod.com Customers can purchase the device online.