Swiss team devise new method to relieve Covid nursing staff

Nurses at the University Hospital Zurich are currently testing the method using a prototype. © Keystone / Christian Beutler

Researchers in Zurich have developed a simple technique to rotate intensive care patients from the supine (face-up) to the prone (face-down) position, potentially relieving the burden on nursing staff already stretched thin during the pandemic.

This content was published on November 30, 2020 - 20:06

Covid-19 patients in intensive care need to be regularly placed in a horizonal face-down position to help bring more oxygen to the bloodstream. But to do this, five specialists are currently needed, the federal technology institute ETH Zurich said on Monday.

Doctoral candidate Julian Ferchow and his colleagues have developed an effective method that would require just two nurses, plus one doctor monitoring the process.

Named “Wende-Tacos” (reversible tacos), it involves the patient, who is first stabilised, lying on one foam mattress and being wrapped into a second one of identical size. The nurses then pull the patient towards them using straps before turning him or her onto the stomach on the other mattress.

The University Hospital in Zurich is currently testing the method using a prototype. A Basel-based firm, OBA AG, intends to produce the system on a larger scale.

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