Originally featured in LINK Magazine

Revolutionizing the way people are repositioned in wheelchairs in homes, hospitals and care facilities around the world.

Nova Scotians working in the healthcare sector have the highest rate of workplace injury compared to any other industry, with musculoskeletal injuries to healthcare workers costing Nova Scotia taxpayers $100 million annually. These injuries are frequently caused by continuing care workers repositioning patients in wheelchairs who are unable to reposition themselves.

MacKenzie Healthcare Technologies, in collaboration with NSCC and Northwood, a leading long-term care facility in Halifax, has developed The Paraglide system to help alleviate this problem. Paraglide is a wheelchair repositioning system that brings mechanical innovation to the currently injury-prone and undignified task of moving someone in a wheelchair from a slouched position to an upright position.

The Paraglide device will be the first of its kind that will allow people who become slouched forward in wheelchairs to reposition themselves at the touch of a button, removing the reliance of a caregiver and giving them dignity and independence. The device will also eliminate the risk of caregiver injury for this task, prevent pressure injuries (bed sores), and save resources in healthcare facilities, nursing homes, homecare, governments and injury-related insurance coverage for both wheelchair users and caregivers alike.

Paraglide, made of lightweight aluminum, contains a motor, gears, and electronics which attach to the back of the wheelchair. The device uses a wireless remote control, rotating and pulling a specially designed fabric sheet along the seat of the wheelchair thereby moving the person automatically. When the button is released the device releases the sheet, allowing enough slack for the individual to make their way forward again, allowing free movement.

Last October, MacKenzie Healthcare Technologies was named the winner of the sixth annual BioInnovation Challenge (Presented by BioNova) chosen by a panel of judges for its adaptability, market pull, and consumer readiness. The prize package valued at more than $30,000, contained a seed investment and a package of advisory services that the company has used to advance its production as it prepares for the market this summer.

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