New devices help burn unit patients complete simple tasks at CHI Health St. Elizabeth

Burn unit tech helps with independence
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 12:17 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - CHI Health St. Elizabeth introduced a new high-tech device that helps patients recovering in a burn unit complete simple tasks and gain their independence back.

Treating burns is typically not a fast process and patients are usually at the hospital for days or weeks unable to do very much. The new device helps burn unit patients who don’t have the mobility to do things on their own complete simple tasks such as turning off lights, changing a TV channel, and turning the volume up and down by simply breathing into a machine.

Chi Health St. Elizabeth staff has two devices they’ve been using for one month and considers it a game-changer for patients.

Burn and Wound Nurse Manager Rathjen Esther said, “Whereas if they didn’t have this type of device, they would have to push the call light and wait for the nurse or wait for the staff... a lot of our patients, whether they are burn patients, or patients with wound injuries don’t have any function or good function of their hands.”

The menu on the device is rotating through options automatically so when a patient sees an option they like they they simply blow out or suck air into a small tube to select it.

“They don’t have control over when they get their dressing changes, or sometimes what they have to eat for that day. So giving them this little nugget of something that they can control is huge to their independence,” Esther said.

CHI Health St. Elizabeth burn unit nurses said it takes just minutes to get the hang of.

“There’s this little panel over here that the nurse can use to help control and demonstrate as soon as we turn it on, and they get the hang of just that timing. There. Off they go,” Esther said.

CHI Health St. Elizabeth burn unit staff learned of the new device from a former patient that had experienced it before and suggested it to staff. Each set-up costs about $900 and so far it has freed up nurse’s time by cutting down on calls for them to do smaller tasks.