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Student designs new syringe to help elderly take medicines

A design student has invented a new type of oral syringe to make loading and administrating medications easier, especially for older patients.

Design student Rhian Bache’s final-year project at London’s Brunel University has been selected for the prestigious Made in Brunel Exhibition on the South Bank.

Ms Bache, 22, realised that with an increasingly elderly population often taking many different medicines, many of which are only available in liquid form, self-administering accurate doses using a needle-less syringe was a real challenge for many patients.

Rhian Bache

Rhian Bache

She said: “Self-loading and administrating medications with existing oral syringes is extremely difficult to do accurately, especially for those suffering from poor coordination, or hand weakness.

“There are two problems, you can’t easily gauge what dose is going in and have to turn the bottle upside-down to fill the syringe,” she said.

Ms Bache’s prototype gadget solves both, and can be used by left-handed and right-handed patients.

The main concept is to simplify use by holding the syringe horizontally using an oral accessory. By allowing the user to keep the syringe flat, they are free to concentrate on the rate of medication flow rather than keeping the syringe stationary within the oral cavity.

From this initial concept, Ms Bache developed a full range of accessories. A new bottle adapter removes the need to invert and elevate the medicine bottle, while a handle accessory decreases pressure on the user’s palm and fingers.

The device is now going into further development with hospital doctors and nurses.

Visit the Made in Brunel website for more information on the prototype device.


Rhian Bache’s new oral syringe and accessories

Readers' comments (11)

  • I'm sorry but after thirty years in the profession there is nothing wrong with syringes that are in use ! WHat a load of unnecessary cods wallop!

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  • Without change there is no change. Well done Rhian, from another nurse of 30 years with a different outlook on change.

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  • As a nurse of nearly 30 years I agree with the second comment - whatever happened to positivity and choice? Congratulations Rhian. I have a daughter your age and I would be very proud of you as I'm sure your own mother is.

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  • I agree with comment one if you look back at nursing history changes have been made then years later we return to how it was done years originally!

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  • It is a good thought. I do wonder how much medicine will be wasted due to dead space....and how expensive it will prove to be.

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  • Appears that the syringe plunger assist could be used on a variety of different sized syringes. This device could be very helpful for clients undergoing Rehabilitation and Occupational Health therapies---one step closer to taking care of themselves. Good job!

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  • Anonymous | 20-Jun-2014 3:25 pm

    with that attitude and attempting to put down and discourage a student who has come up with an innovative idea (whether successful or not) sounds more like retirement is well overdue. the profession needs a young, dynamic, forward looking workforce who, in the interest of their patients, is not afraid of embracing change.

    Well done Rhian, keep up your good work.

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  • well done Rhian! Anything that helps make life easier for the elderly can only be a good thing. Keep up the good work!

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  • 'If you cannot change your mind you cannot change anything' (George Bernard Shaw).

    Part of the protype criteria is to iron out any problems and make it as effective and efficient as possible so well done Rian.

    Top class from a fellow student nurse.

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  • The first poster apparently missed the point that this was for THE ELDERLY to use for themselves, not for professionals to use for their patients.
    I do hope this person isn't working with the elderly....

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  • This sounds absolutely fantastic! I'm a student nurse and have come across many vulnerable people who are unable to administer their medication!
    This would indeed aid many many of the older population!

    How do we get hold of one??

    Well done Rhian!!

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