For elderly and bedridden patients, diapers could soon come with a sensor that alerts caregivers by SMS when they are soiled.
Researchers from Singapore have developed an “intelligent continence management system” comprising a thin disposable sensor strip, a compact wireless transmitter, a receiver and software.
“Lying in soiled diapers for prolonged periods is not only uncomfortable and unhygienic, but may also cause skin rashes and infection for the wearer,” said lead researcher Jackie Ying, executive director, Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) at The Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore (A*STAR).
“While increasing the frequency of diaper checks and changes may help to reduce this problem, it would also add to the workload of caregivers. Clearly, there is a need for an alternative solution,” Ying explained in a statement released by A*STAR.
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The new sensor can be easily integrated into the adult diapers currently available in the market to facilitate timely diaper change.
It comes in the form of a thin, lightweight strip of metal, plastic and paper. This inexpensive strip can be embedded in the diaper and can be disposed easily after use.
The wireless transmitter, which is connected to the sensor, can be easily attached and removed for reuse.
IBN’s system tracks the wetness level in the diaper via the sensor.
Once the diaper wetness reaches a predetermined level, the sensor will transmit a signal wirelessly to the caregivers using their preferred interface such as SMS.
This will prompt the caregiver to change the patient’s diaper when needed.
Timely replacement of soiled diapers is a challenge for caregivers of patients who are unable to communicate this need, such as those who suffer from aphasia, the loss of speech after a stroke or brain injury.