It starts following surgery, or chemo, or when you are heading home with a central line for IV antibiotics. The nurses and doctors are no longer in the room and you’re in charge of your own care. After all the prescribed meds and treatments have been administered and your nurse gives you your follow up instructions, it’s your turn to manage your symptoms. But you still feel vulnerable. You may be surrounded by medical equipment you don’t fully understand. You may feel like the side effects from the medicine are not any better than your condition itself. It’s here that patients and caregivers are often left seeking ways to manage suffering and increase safety on their own. This is where patient innovation starts.
Our founder Kezia, found line care safety protocols lacking after her daughter was given a central line. Because she was 11 months old, it wasn’t an implanted medical device with direct blood access, but a toy. Kezia was told the risks by Saoirse’s care team- dislodgement, infection, delays in treatment but they offered up no viable solution. As Saoirse’s mom and caregiver, she had to come up with a way to keep Saoirse safe and comfortable. So she invented a sleeve then later a wrap (all while undergoing cancer treatment herself!). What started off as a solution for Saoirse (and later Kezia too) became a go to for those seeking a safer way to manage their lines in hospitals such as Boston Children’s, Jimmy Fund, Rainbow Babies, CS Motts, NYU Langone and more as well as in homes all over the world. CareAline continues to work with vascular access teams to make safe line securement a standard of care for all ages. But it started as a mom and a sick child just trying to manage their own world.
Did you know…
Louis Braille was 3 when he suffered an injury that rendered him blind. He was 20 when he first presented his work in 1829. Braille, a form of written language for the blind is still used by the community worldwide nearly 200 years later.
A nurse invented the crash cart in the mid-60’s. Her name was Anita Dorr and as she watched time slip away during critical emergencies, she decided there was a better way and organized all the items needed for a code and put them in one place. This is another tool still used today.
A nurse named Elise Sørensen created the ostomy bag for her sister in 1954.
We’re proud of Kezia and all those who are brave enough to say there is a better way. As we enter a new year, CareAline wishes to celebrate the innovators that share their designs with others. We recognize that their designs may be better than what’s out there because of first-hand experience.!
We want to share your story because there are others out there who may need your idea!. If you would like to share an invention, idea or new protocol of your own making, please email us at email@example.com.
Carolyn and her son, Kevin – the inspiration for her Kevin’s Covers Shower Sleeve
The Kevin’s Covers Shower Sleeve – Just one example of caregiver innovation making an impact.
This week’s innovation spotlight…
We are proud to introduce you to Carolyn Mcollum. When Carolyn’s young son Kevin had a PICC line placed for his chronic illness and was sent home, the hospital did not offer any solution for showering. The hospital had recommended plastic wrap and other patients were using all kinds of “waterproof” materials to keep the water out such as plastic grocery bags. They were told how dangerous it was to get the dressing wet but the care team offered up no real trustworthy solution to shower.
“And the third time Kevin had to sit for hours waiting for the home health nurse to “work him in” to change his wet dressing, I pulled down the shower curtain and cut up my wetsuit! He’d almost died several times in the hospital because of the MRSA attached to his heart conduit, and I wasn’t going to let the PICC line, supposedly the implement of his recovery, kill him with contaminated bandages!”
Carolyn joined the Association for Vascular Access and the Infusion Nurses Society as Hampton House Medical so she could continue to learn about new protocols and needs in vascular access. It was here that Carolyn learned how plastic and adhesives create condensation and sweat, both of which are contamination hazards. Hearing this, Carolyn sourced a breathable, waterproof fabric. While keeping shower water out, the design and fabric eliminates moisture from condensation and sweat.
Kevin’s Covers Shower Sleeve became the first shower sleeve that does not require adhesives or pressure to keep water out and is the first and only clinically trialed waterproof, breathable shower sleeve made specifically for PICC lines (though works great for casts too!) and is now used by hospitals, home health companies, pharmacies and infusion clinics across the country.
We celebrate Carolyn and Kevin. Because of them, patients with PICC Lines can shower safely which improves the quality of their lives and has most likely saved some along the way! Thank you Carolyn for your contribution to the PICC Line community.