Occupational therapy: helping disabled persons in France maintain their independence
The Air Liquide Foundation is supporting a team of occupational therapists at the Ildys Foundation, an association that focuses on health, well-being and social welfare. Their goal is to manufacture personalized equipment to improve outcomes for disabled persons at the care and rehabilitation facility in Roscoff, in the Finistère region of France.
Specific disabilities, customized care
There are many different types of disabilities, which are often specific to each individual. In order to help their patients overcome motor loss or deficiency, a team of occupational therapists are manufacturing equipment that will help disabled individuals maintain their independence. However, these technical aids, which are made using thermoformable film and foam, are costly, time-consuming and labor-intensive to produce by hand.
Julie Calvez et Erwan Nédélec, occupational therapists at the Perharidy center © Fondation Ildys
Bowl holder for an hemiplegic person (a single valid hand) © Fondation Ildys
Using 3D printing to improve patient comfort
The precision of 3D printing and the constantly expanding range of materials used make 3D printers the ideal tool for manufacturing equipment in batches. The occupational therapy team at the Ildys Foundation's Roscoff site decided to acquire a 3D printer in order to manufacture technical aids tailored to the needs of their patients (bottle holders, wheelchair chin controls, etc.). This technology was already successfully used at the Kerpape rehabilitation facility. In addition, two occupational therapists from the Ildys Foundation participated in a training course at this facility in order to learn how to apply 3D printing to their field.
Patients are also invited to design the equipment using special software, ensuring that their needs remain the focus of the process.
With 3D printing, users can design helpful technical aids that are hygienic, aesthetically appealing, low-cost and quick to produce.
How is the Air Liquide Foundation involved?
The Air Liquide Foundation is participating in the initiative by financing the purchase of a 3D printer, a computer, office furniture, as well as the materials needed to print the technical aids.