On Friday 24 January, NIHR CYP MedTech, the Gastroenterology Services clinical team at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, and Tookie Ltd welcomed parents and children for an afternoon of Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) focus groups. These focus groups aimed to gather feedback on a series of newly evolving medical garments that the teams have been designing for paediatric gastroenterology patients.
At present, patients and families of the Gastroenterology services at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and across the UK face a number of challenges when securing and maintaining the array of enteral feeding tubes and plugs that are vital to the patients survival and management of their conditions, including preventing children from pulling and removing their tubes. Currently, no such product exists to resolve this clear need. Parents are often forced to develop bespoke solutions which aren’t fit for purpose, sometimes purchasing expensive online products in an effort to secure their children’s feeding lines and carry the weight of their large drainage bags to allow them to live as normal childhoods as possible.
Building upon their proven past experience in delivering patient, parent and clinically driven innovations for paediatric patients with Central Venous Catheters (CVCs), Tookie Ltd have sought to change this. They are developing a range of medical garments that are able to secure enteral feeding lines and plugs, whilst adequately supporting drainage bags, providing children with a good quality of life, dignity and ensuring peace of mind for parents.
Parents of patients at Sheffield Children’s Hospital where therefore invited along to the focus groups to provide their feedback and opinions on the current design of the garments; two highly similar designs, for differing age groups. The day was split into two sessions, with parents welcomed by the teams and given the opportunity to play around and scrutinise the prototypes, highlighting how the products would and wouldn’t work for the individual and differing needs of their own children. The informal sessions proceeded to draw out new ideas and design concepts that the clinical teams hadn’t previously considered, highlighting the importance of PPI involvement in the MedTech design process! The focus group setting also gave the Tookie team the opportunity to sit down one on one with parents, to discuss the rationale behind the garment designs so far and allowed them to hear first-hand, the day to day considerations and struggles of these families.
All in all the day was a success! The Tookie team gained a huge amount of invaluable feedback and suggested improvements on their prototype products from the families. Tookie plan to incorporate these valued contributions into the next iteration of their designs and run further focus groups with these families, NIHR CYP MedTech and the clinical team, in the coming months, to once again ensure that their designs are fit for purpose and suit the family’s, as well as the overall patient group’s needs.
Ultimately, the end goal is to progress the garment designs through the CE certification process and provide the products on the NHS supply chain, so that children and young people with enteral feeding assemblies have safe, user centric garments available for them to wear, preventing tube related pulling and injuries, ensuring a healthy and happy childhood!