Development of a Shower Carrier based on the Needs in Long-term Care Institutions Cho, Deok-Yeon; Ko, Cheol-Woong; Chun, Keyoung-Jin; No, Kon-Woo;
Objective: This study developed a new shower carrier prototype to reduce caregivers' muscle burden and to increase use convenience by reflecting the needs of domestic long-term care institutions. Background: In the long-term care institutions, one of the ADL(Activities of Daily Life) factors is bathing/showering. Recently, bath/shower-assisting equipment is actively being introduced in care institutions to reduce the caregivers' care cost, but most of the domestic equipment was designed to imitate foreign products and rarely reflected the needs of care institutions. Method: Based on Korean elderly people's body information, the bed size(length: 1,900mm, width: 650mm) was set-up, and a variable headrest with a newly designed headform was developed to provide the comfort for the elderly and convenience for caregivers. To reduce caregivers' muscle burden on transferring and showering activities, a 3-step column lifting module equipped with dual actuators(lowest/highest levels from the ground: 600/1,100mm, Stroke: 500mm) was developed, and the wheelbase parameter(length: 1,250mm, width: 580mm) was defined securing the turn-over safety of the shower carrier. The drivability tests were performed for the prototype and foreign product, and the male and female subject's muscle activities were measured through the tests. Results: The structural stability of the shower carrier prototype was secured by finite element analysis, and the muscle activities of the subjects through the drivability tests largely decreased in the prototype, compared to the foreign product. Conclusion: In this study, a new shower carrier prototype was developed to possibly reduce caregivers' muscle burden and to increase use convenience based on the needs of long-term care institutions. It was expected that the drivability performance of the prototype could be relatively superior to that of the foreign product. Application: The results obtained from the study can be applied for the optimal development of a shower carrier including other equipment to effectively care for the elderly.
Aging;Long-term care institution;Shower carrier;Caregiver;Drivability test;