Featured invention at the DaVinci Inventor Showcase 2010
Have you had a family member or friend in the hospital, a nursing home or under hospice care? Has access to water or other fluids been an issue? That person might have even been YOU! The MakH2OPak(TM) is a single user, disposable patient hydration system that gives patients 24 hour control of access to fluids and relieves the caregiver of this task and the ability to focus on other medical needs.
While my father was confined to a hospital bed for the last months of his life, the simple function of taking a drink of water became complicated and most of the time required assistance. This became a burden to not only my dad but an inconvenience to all of those taking care of him. We had used a backpack hydration system during the process of moving him from the bed, to the wheelchair and into the car to transport him to chemotherapy sessions or doctors appointments because he needed to wet his mouth multiple times while being moved. We decided to remove the bladder and tie it above his hospital bed, making the tube and mouth piece accessible 24/7. Having control again brought immediate peace and comfort right up to the end for my father.
We began to think of who else could use such a simple but very important aid to ease them during a time of limited mobility and strength. I realized I could have used it during my recovery from back surgery years ago. Fortunately, I was able to have a prototype ready for my mother to use during recovery from knee replacement surgery. The feedback from her surgeon, nurses and physical therapists was all very positive. They thought the use of an aid such as this would improve hydration levels with patients able to drink by mouth while relieving the care giver of spending so much time assisting in making fluids available and accessible. Another very important feature of the system is that it allows for more accurate measurement of fluid intake. The measurements can be recorded directly onto the disposable bladder.
The human body is 70% made up of water and water is one of the six required nutrients for proper bodily function. Proper hydration can speed recovery and prevent most hospital acquired illnesses and physical distresses. The lack of access to water and proper monitoring of fluid intake are a couple of the causes of dehydration or worsening of it while in the hospital or confined to a bed. Of the more than 39 million people who are discharged yearly from US hospitals, the majority are elderly and already mildly to moderately dehydrated when they are admitted. The national nursing home population was 7 million in 2007 and on the rise along with the increase use of hospice services. Already limited in their agility and strength, most could benefit by the availability of the MakH2OPak™. Our hydration system was specifically designed to provide a sterile environment for stored liquids, an adequate length of tubing and a mouthpiece to alleviate access issues, hashmarks on the transparent bladder to accurately measure fluid intake and the ease of a completely recyclable disposable unit.