Michael Graves, the American architect highly recognized for his work in the design field, has teamed up with Stryker Medical to introduce an innovative new wheelchair for hospital clinicians. Known as the Prime TC, the chair is set to hit the market in the spring of this year. Designed with the comfort, safety and mobility of the patient and caregiver in mind, the chair offers some unique features not typically found in the traditional wheelchair.
At first glance, the most noticeable attribute is the ergonomic shape and look to the chair. The design allows for uninhibited patient access by allowing the attached legs to swing away and has the ability to accommodate a weight capacity of 500 lbs. More importantly, the ergonomic hand grips and wheel design will help eliminate employee injuries due to back strain from pushing or pulling. Normal wheelchair’s wheels have to be manually locked by the caregiver, requiring them to walk around the patient or bend down to lock the wheelchair before the patient can be transferred. The Prime TC has a one-touch foot operated central brake which reduces bending and reaching. The chair also has some aesthetic features that offers a more up to date feel. Optional features include an upright O2 tank holder, chrome plated IV pole, and foley bag hooks.
Another advantage is the chair’s potential to reduce wheelchair theft, which is important when considering approximately 30% of hospital’s wheelchair inventory is stolen annually. The design, which does not allow the chair to be folded up and placed inside of a vehicle, and it’s weight of 140 lbs could help deter theft. The Prime TC was also built to have a nesting design similar to shopping carts, making it easier to store several transport chairs on the unit.
At a cost of about $2,000-$2,500 the price tag initially seems costly but the return on the investment due to potentially less back injuries, less loss of property, less use of storage space may prove to increase the overall return on investment in the long term. For comparison, the Staxi medical chair ranges from $915-$1,400 and standard wheel chairs cost $350-$750. While it is difficult to say if hospital C-Suites will see value, as a clinician, I can see it having a huge impact on those employees that use wheelchairs often for discharging and transporting patients.
MD Buyline has begun to see a few quotes for this product and increased interest and will monitor when the product is officially released later this year.