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OPENSIM Models to Simulate Patient-Handling Tasks

Project Full Title:

Assessing the appropriateness of OPENSIM models to simulate manual patient-handling tasks

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Project Description:

Hope Students Only, Pending funding: This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of engineering, nursing, and pre-health professions. However the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Engineering. Individuals with physical impairments as well as elderly individuals may rely on caregivers (i.e., healthcare workers: nurses, therapists, aides, etc) for assistance with activities of daily living, such as getting into bed, transferring from the bed to a chair, toilet/shower, sitting up in bed, etc. Caregivers may often assume awkward and biomechanically inefficient postures while performing these physically demanding maneuvers, which entail lifting and repositioning patients. Such tasks have been reported to be major risk factors for work-related musculoskeletal injuries. Due to the increased mechanical loads on the upper body, caregivers commonly report high perceived stress at the low back and shoulders. As caregivers age, they may no longer be able perform these strenuous tasks and many leave direct care positions. Open-source personalized computational musculoskeletal models, capable of generating dynamic simulations of human movement, are powerful tools for predicting internal joint loading during patient-handling tasks. Such a model can extend existing treatment methods and provide insight on more effective interventions. Despite the availability of personalized open-source models of the lumbar spine, none of these models have been validated for manual patient-handling tasks. The proposed project is a pilot study to assess the feasibility of open-source models to simulate patient-handling tasks.

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