An aid to help medical staff to be able to read small print whilst wearing PPE, without the need for their usual reading glasses.

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By ALP Europe


With the COVID 19 pandemic many staff in clinical areas are required to wear full PPE. This involves wearing of goggles or a face visor. Some staff require and use prescription reading glasses which they put on and take off to enable reading of small print during their normal clinical activity for example reading detailed print on prescriptions or medication vials. This is obviously not possible whilst wearing PPE without compromising infection control integrity.

The problem was identified by a member of the Patient Safety Team at the WMAHSN who had returned to clinical practice in ITU to support the COVID-19 response, following conversations with colleagues. The issue was then highlighted to the WMAHSN industry gateway team (MedilinkWM) to rapidly respond in identifying a solution. The MedilinkWM team searched for reading aids that would meet the brief but that was found ether were too small in reading area or were not suitable due to construction, shape or form (multiple edges and joints) which would result in an infection control risk.

The Gateway team were already working with a regional specialist plastics and lighting design and manufacturing company ALP Europe. on another PPE solution. The challenge was posed to them to create a simple, easy to clean reading aid.

Their design team researched suitable materials and formats in which a suitable magnifying glass could be manufactured to the clinical teams’ requirements. After an amount of research, the design team at ALP Europe identified a solution that potentially would provide a solution to the problem identified by the ITU team. 

Having obtained suitable materials the company manufactured a few prototypes which were tested by the challenge identifier along with other staff members within the clinical area.

The Magnifying Glass tested was a flat A5 sized magnifying card. Staff found the magnifying glass called the Maxi-Magni-Card to be an effective solution.  A modification was requested to the 'Maxi-Magni-Card' to enable staff to secure the device in some way i.e. to uniform (PPE gown) to prevent accidental loss of the magnifier. It is recommended that the device is removed prior to providing personal care to patients. A metal clip was added along with a clear pocket to store the Maxi-Magni-Card.

These modifications have now all been undertaken and the ITU team at the first pilot site have received and are using the 'Maxi-Magni-Card'. The magnifiers have also been distributed to other Critical Care Units in the region who also identified the problem and were keen for a solution.

The Patient Safety Collaborative (WMAHSN) recognised that the idea could potentially resolve the reading issue and saw the potential that the Maxi-Magni-Card solution could improving patient safety whilst also addressing COVID-19 pandemic infection control requirements and hence put it forward for review and consideration for starting a trial.  


Impact & Outcomes

The 'Maxi-Magni-Card'  has been received very positively and provides a simple solution  as it allows small print to be read without the use of reading glasses, thereby reducing the risk of errors being made and facilitating staff being able to work safely, ensure patient safety is maintained and reducing the risk of potential errors being made with medication and clinical records. Staff report that the device is easy to use and can be attached onto the PPE gown for easy access and personal use. The manufacturing specifications also ensure that it is easily cleaned and stored for the next shift or user.  

The price of each unit has been considered as reasonable - given the problem that staff had identified and the risks of potential clinical error.