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Innovation

Marsden is a leader in weighing innovation. Our range of weighing scales includes world firsts, developed with the help from medical institutions and healthcare experts. Every Marsden medical scale is designed to meet three very simple, but crucial criteria: to reduce costs for healthcare, improve user experience and, ultimately, deliver better patient outcomes.

How we innovate

Looking forward means thinking outside of the box. Weighing is a means to an end, but how we achieve that end goal is what’s important. How can a weighing scale provide a weight reading in a way that’s easier, less stressful, more accurate and takes less time? Understanding how to achieve this means understanding how and why weighing scales are used in any given setting.

Innovation cannot happen without input from the people who use our scales. Each new idea takes years to develop, from the initial idea, through consultation with healthcare professionals, prototype creation, testing, further consultation and analysis, through to testing in real life settings, final design and manufacture.

Every new weighing scale design starts with the customer, though: finding out what typical existing processes can be improved with better weighing equipment.

In 2020, Marsden set itself a target of two new innovative products every year. This work ethic has already resulted in three revolutionary weighing solutions, and you can read each of their stories below.

The Patient Transfer Scale

The challenge: Weighing immobile patients is time consuming and, often, not possible. In emergency situations, when every minute counts, some patients simply do not get weighed – even when drug dosages or treatment depend on an accurate weight reading.

In early 2017, when Marsden first began work on development of the Patient Transfer Scale, the only options for gaining an accurate weight for an immobile patient were hoist scales, bed scales or bed weighers, and estimation using one of several different formulas. No one had proactively pursued a more convenient alternative, until Emergency Department nurse Gillian Taylor had an idea and decided to take it further.

Gillian approached Marsden in late 2016 with the idea of a transfer board with an in-built weighing scale. Since transfer boards are commonly used to move a patient from trolley to bed on admission to hospital, adding a weighing scale to a transfer board meant weighing took place

during this essential, existing process. There were many benefits to this – weighing took place as part of the existing process, rather than adding a step to the process, patients were weighed comfortably and without stress, and the weight reading was immediately available at the point it was needed most – when the patient arrives in hospital.

The development process provided Marsden with its biggest weighing challenge ever. How do you get a 180cm-long transfer board to weigh accurately enough to be a Class III Approved medical scale, be robust enough for everyday use in emergency situations, and be lightweight enough for regular lifting and carrying by nurses?

In the end, the final design incorporated 16 loadcells to ensure accuracy across the full length of the scale, enshrined in top and bottom ABS plastic mouldings. The weight of the scale was kept to 11kg – 4kg lighter than the NHS’ maximum recommended carry weight for a single person.

There were two prototype stages, each one touring the UK’s hospitals for feedback and analysis. It was feedback during this period that informed the final design that you see today.

Since launch in February 2019, the Patient Transfer Scale has been an worldwide success, allowing not just Emergency Departments, but Critical Care Units, Stroke wards, Cath labs and Spinal Injury Units to obtain accurate weights for their patients.

M-250 Chair Scale with Stand Assist

The challenge: In care homes and nursing homes, residents with limited mobility are often weighed in chair scales. However, depending on the size of the patient and the extent of their mobility, this can often be stressful for residents and a challenge for staff. In extreme cases, there could be risk of back injury.

The M-250 project began in 2017 when the difficulties that care homes faced in weighing became clear to Marsden. With lifting an immobile person out of a chair scale the biggest hindrance in the weighing process, Marsden’s Product Development Team began working on ideas based around a lifting seat.

The lifting seat would need to be strong enough to elevate a weight of upto 250kg, be smooth enough for the weighing process to be much more comfortable, and be easy to operate.

A prototype was developed and presented to hospitals and care homes around the UK for feedback. It was this feedback that helped fine-tune the M-250 design.

Particular attention was given to the seat; a new chair scale allowed Marsden to think about how existing chair scale designs could be improved, and a brand new seat design was introduced for use with the M-250.

With so many treatments needing an accurate weight, and NICE recommending every care home resident is weighed in admission, it’s vital that weighing is easy and stress-free – as well as relieving pelvic pressure on residents.

We’re delighted to say that the M-250 can now make weighing residents with limited mobility much easier. In fact, during testing of the second prototype at Marsden’s factory, the lifting seat was found to reduce the effort required to lift a patient out of the chair by 70%.

The M-250’s lifting seat is easy to operate with a separate handheld remote control for lifting or lowering the seat base. The speed of the lifting mechanism is very important: this small detail was one of the most important areas of development to ensure the seat raised with minimum stress but also maximum time consideration!

The M-250 Chair Scale with Stand Assist will be available from late August 2020 but you can pre-order yours now.

M-615 Lightweight Wheelchair Scale

The challenge: Weighing disabled patients in community settings is a necessity, but suitable weighing scales – wheelchair scales – are cumbersome, heavy and complicated. For community nurses potentially weighing several people a day during visits, using a wheelchair scale is hardly desirable.

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Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Working with Birmingham & Sandwell Hospitals NHS Trust, Marsden endeavoured to meet three criteria with the final design: lightweight for easy transportation, compact for getting it in and out of the average car boot, and simple to use, for quick and easy weighing.

Marsden enlisted product design specialists [PD-M] to create concepts for an all-new wheelchair scale. The final chosen design was a result of heavy consultation with Birmingham & Sandwell Hospitals NHS Trust, and incorporated design features not before seen in Marsden wheelchair scales, in order to meet the criteria that had been set.

The M-615 is wireless, to make it easier to set up – no complicated setting up before the patient can be weighed. The two beams, traditionally separate, are now one folding piece, meaning laying the scale out in front of the wheelchair is easy.

Most importantly, though, the M-615 is our lightest wheelchair scales yet – and, we believe, the lightest wheelchair scale available. It weighs just 9kg, almost half the weight of our most popular wheelchair scale, the M-610.

The M-615 is due to be launched in early October 2020.

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