PearsonLloyd was commissioned by the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency and the Design Council to re-think and re-design the commode. The project formed part of the Design Bugs Out initiative, which looked at how to reduce the incidence and costs – estimated at an annual £3 billion – of healthcare associated infections (HCAI’s), especially MRSA and C-difficile.
PearsonLloyd worked on the product with Kirton Healthcare, and the Human-centred Design Institute (HCDI) at Brunel University. The key challenge was to create a design that was quick and easy to clean, yet still served all aspects of the toileting process: comfort, patient dignity, and ease of use.
Current commodes tend to have multiple features to try and serve multiple functions. However, having multiple parts increases the number of difficult to clean junctions, compromising hygiene. PearsonLloyd’s solution was to design out all unnecessary joints, sharp corners, grooves and hidden nooks and crannies. The studio reduced the product to two parts: the shell, which provides patient comfort, and the frame, which delivers the mechanical performance of the product, such as mobility. By separating these parts, damaged components can be easily replaced
The commode is designed for bedside use, and as a portering chair to take patients to the toilet, where the commode is wheeled over a static toilet. The commode accommodates a ‘top-loading’ bedpan (i.e. not mounted on the underside) to avoid waste being splashed onto the underside of the commode – thereby containing waste within the bed pan. The main frame and shell can be nested and stacked for easy storage.
All components are self finished, single materials to avoid need for paints and finishes allowing them to be fully recyclable. FEA (finite element analysis) was used extensively on all parts to ensure minimum use of materials, minimized tooling and optimised structure.