A New Shoulder-Elbow-Wrist Sling for Hemiplegic Patients

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This paper reports on the development of a new Shoulder-Elbow-Wrist (SEW) sling for the hemiplegic patient. Evaluation was based upon the initial design criteria which included: (1) provide appropriate support to avoid shoulder dislocation; (2) evenly distribute forces over uninvolved shoulder and back with no neck pressure; (3) sling should be easily put on, with one hand, by the patient; (4) capable of dynamic or static support; (5) hand area open for optional movement; (6) comfortable without rubbing on body or arm; (7) lightweight, cool, cleanable and cosmetically appealing.

A polypropylene SEW sling was designed and vacuum molded. Appropriate shoulder/back support straps were designed. Two-inch straps distributed forces across the uninvolved shoulder and back. The front straps were substituted for by elastic if it was desired to achieve certain dynamic characteristics. Holes were provided in the sling for ventilation. Padding was used, where necessary, for comfort. Clear polypropylene is easily cleanable, lightweight and aesthetically pleasing. The cost of commercial production would be minimal. The design, development, construction, and implementation of this new device are presented.

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