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Nurses work with designers on new hospital water jug

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Nursing staff in Nottingham have teamed up with local designers to tackle a problem posed on hospital wards throughout the country, namely poorly designed water jugs.

A prototype of the new jug has proved a hit with nursing staff on the wards who have seen it, said Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

“All the feedback from the people that have seen the new jug has been really positive”

Karen Draper

It noted that, while plastic water containers were a common site on wards, they could prove a “real headache” because they were hard to use and easily knocked over, with connotations for hydration.

The new design that aims to help address these issues is the brainchild of patient support worker Karen Draper and Nottingham Trent University design student Tom Lewis.

Ms Draper said: “There are a number of problems with the current jug, one in particular is that the sterilising process makes the material scratch so they don’t look very clean.

“The handles aren’t easy to grip because they are very smooth so patients have a hard time gripping them, the lids don’t fit very well so patients have to tilt the lid upwards before they poor the water – if they don’t do that the water tends to go everywhere,” she said.

“Also, the markings aren’t very clear so we can’t accurately see how much water the patients have drunk,” noted Ms Draper.

“Coming up with something small but could have a big impact has been really important”

Tom Lewis

She added: “It’s a real problem if patients can’t drink. It makes them more unwell, their recovery is slower if they are dehydrated so we really need a jug they can use easily.”

Mr Lewis, who approached the trust as part of his degree course, has now developed a new look jug which is easier to lift, has a better fitting lid and addresses a number of the current problems.

He said: “The material means it will last a lot longer and not scratch and need replacing as often.

“On the handle there’s a bumped texture making it easier for patients, especially those with arthritis, to grip it,” he said. “There’s also a base unit in the bottom that prevents it being knocked over but it can still be lifted up easily.”

Ms Draper said: “The new jug is amazing. All the features are on it that we need, it’s easy to grip so patients can hold them, the lid operates by itself too. I like the base unit which makes it really difficult to tip over.

“All the feedback from the people that have seen the new jug has been really positive, everyone is really excited about it,” she noted.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Nurses work with designers on new hospital water jug

Karen Draper and Tom Lewis

Mr Lewis has showed off his idea at a number of design events across the county and said he was hopeful of working with a manufacturer to improve the design and get it made.

“My family work in the NHS so coming up with something small but could have a big impact has been really important,” he said.

Paula Ward, interim director of the trust’s Better for You improvement programme, said: “Karen and Tom have thought innovatively in response to a problem that exists in our hospitals that affects our patients, family members, carers and staff.

“By improving the design of water jugs, I can see there is real benefit to our patients in minimising the risk and potential harm that poor hydration can cause as this creative solution seeks to improve the provision of water to our patients,” she said.

Nursing Times has asked the trust whether it was currently using the innovation and whether it planned to fully adopt it, pending future manufacture.

A spokeswoman confirmed that the jug was not being used yet.

“The prototype has been made and Tom is hoping to get someone to develop it and take it to market,” she said.

The trust is one of the biggest and busiest acute hospitals in England, employing 15,000 staff. It has three main sites – Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham City Hospital and Ropewalk House.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Nurses work with designers on new hospital water jug

Water jug product design

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