Hydrapep

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  • 2015

  • Product
    Medical and Scientific

Designed By:

  • Bridget Cronin
  • Propaganda Mill

Commissioned By:

Resolve Healthcare

Designed In:

Australia

Hydrapep is a TGA listed bubble PEP- a device formerly ‘home-made’ from bottles & tubing – used by physiotherapists to alleviate respiratory problems. It is an effective treatment for productive coughs. Blowing bubbles in the water creates positive pressure in the airways, which helps to improve movement of air in and out of the lungs, prevent airway collapse, & dislodge secretions. Hydrapep is easy to clean, & is designed to be used easily by both the young and elderly. It can be used as a stand-alone treatment or in conjunction with traditional chest physiotherapy. Its safety feature allows therapists to safely ascertain whether a patient can use it correctly, minimising the risk of aspiration.


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  • Hydrapep is resolved in terms of style, form and aesthetic, and through its experience induces an immediate appeal. With a crystal clear body, and components in blue cyan, the device evokes freshness and clarity. Hydrapep can be easily cleaned - vital in hospital settings. Its wide opening and body is stable yet permits thorough washing and drying. The seal between lid and bottle is shallow, again for ease of cleaning and infection control. The mouthpiece is wide so that it is easier for the elderly to create an effective seal around it, or for small children to place their lips inside and blow on it 'like a trumpet'. Fill lines at 10 and 15cm display the usual treatment parameters for this therapy.

  • To use Hydrapep, fill with water to the desired level, and blow bubbles through the mouthpiece and tubing. This creates positive pressure and vibration in the airways, keeping them open and helping to clear mucus. Hydrapep is designed so when water is filled to a depth of 10cm, the positive pressure exerted on the user's airways will equal 10cm H20 pressure. The body and mouthpiece are ergonomically designed for children and adults. It is easy to assemble, disassemble and clean for both the very young and the elderly with no complex components or unnecessary steps. Varying hand sizes, arthritis, muscle-weakness in the hand or mouth, were all taken into consideration through mouthpiece and lid design features

  • Hydrapep has a unique safety feature for determining whether a patient is a suitable candidate for the product (see Innovation section). Hydrapep's minimalist design, shallow lid seal, generous curves, and wide opening are all features which enable ease of thorough cleaning and drying between uses - as per hospital infection control protocols. It is also dishwasher safe for domestic use.

  • Hydrapep is composed of recyclable materials. It is a durable product, designed to last the duration of a patient's stay in hospital, and beyond - so that they may continue their therapy after discharge home. A small amount of tap water is the only other substance required to use Hydrapep (and to keep it clean) so through its lifecycle there is only a minor amount of energy consumed or wasted.

    Hydrapep is designed and made in Qld, Australia using industry standard manufacturing processes. Its hospital price point reflects that it is a 'consumable' item, at $15.62 per unit.

    Hydrapep, although simple in form, is a considered and well-resolved device for the healthcare market and represents value for money within the hospital and domestic contexts. There are various features that have been considered through design that improve usability including the use of subtle fill lines, off-the-shelf tubing and a wide body design that also reduce manufacturing costs. Return on investment has been realised, with distribution in hospitals throughout Australia.

    It's not always possible to tell if a patient will be able to correctly follow the instruction to blow bubbles, risking the possibility of inhaling water. Hydrapep's safety feature addresses this. Add 1-2cm water to Hydrapep & twist the mouthpiece to align the outlet holes in the mouthpiece & tubing before instructing the patient to blow bubbles. If the patient attempts to suck not blow, they only breathe in air. It's still easy to create bubbles in the shallow water, providing reinforcement and improved understanding of correct usage. When satisfied the patient has understood the instructions and can use Hydrapep safely, twist the mouthpiece again so that the holes are no longer aligned, and proceed as normal.