Additive Manufacturing Strategies

3D Printed Nurse Call Button Lets Disabled Patients Easily Summon Help

ST Medical Devices

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UK maker John Dingley saw a need and wasted no time applying his 3D design and printing know-how to meet it. A professed DIYer and ardent fan of all things Arduino, Dingley, who goes by the screen name XenonJohn on the Instructables maker site, put his MakerBot Replicator to work in the interest of a disabled acquaintance.parts

Apparently, someone Dingley knew suffered a serious illness and lost both hands. Still hospitalized, this serious disability made it impossible for this patient to even summon help from a nurse by using the electronic call button.

This challenge, noted Dingley, “also applies to people with poor coordination or muscle weakness.” The buttons, which are typically recessed a bit in the typically palm-size panels (they often include television and bFY8F9CQI6M2NZC4.MEDIUMed controls in the US), can be difficult to access and press for some patients. The need, he observed, was quite immediate, so Dingley set out on SketchUp to design a 3D printed case that would house the hospital nurse call button.

“Obviously,” cautioned Dingley, “this is not officially endorsed in any way by the nurse call handset manufacturer…You make it at your own risk.”

He admitted that it was designed, printed, and instructed fairly quickly and could probably use some tweaking here and there, but he wanted to solve this serious problem as soon as possible — and also share the basic design that he encourages others to adjust as needed.

Dingley created a simple structure, all of which is 3D printed: There’s a frame to hold the handset securely, a clip-on clamp that fits over the front lower surface to hold the handset in place, and a large hinged pad that fits over the button panel and gets pressed by the patient. The pad with the button-like call button mainindentation is held in place by hinge pins that insert through holes in the hinged pad at the upper corners. The hinge pins, which are glued to the main frame of the device, look a bit rough. Dingley notes that if you’re making this device according to his instructions, you’ll have to drill holes to accommodate the hinges.

The dark plastic isn’t exactly visually appealing but Dingley’s concern with getting the device to his hospitalized friend was obviously more important than aesthetic concerns. Sometimes it’s also pretty clear that embellishment isn’t really all that important.

This generous maker shared his .stl files and hopes that other people will be able to make and use this device and encourages them to improve on his fairly hastily — but nonetheless soundly — designed nurse call button device.

Do you know anyone with limited mobility who might benefit from an easier-to-push nurse call button? Let us know what you think about this adaptive design in the 3D Printed Big-Button Nurse Call Adapter forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

big button

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