USOSAFE is a micro-isolation unit, created and developed by Rupert Sweet-Escott in response to the 2020 Covid19 pandemic.

The micro-isolation unit is designed to house an individual patient safely, whilst containing the contamination within its environment. The USOSAFE is anchored around the entire mattress base and has windows to view and communicate with the patient within. It also has access points for the variety of cables and drips required to monitor and treat the patients condition. USOSAFE has a two way access chamber so food or items can be passed safely to the patient housed within the unit if and when they are in recovery, or able to interact with hospital staff.

Currently patients who test positive to Covid19 or who are strongly suspected of having the virus remain in the same vicinity as patients who may not. During this wait a Covid19 patient may transmit the virus to other patients and staff. The USOSAFE unit manages to allow the safe containment of a Covid19 patient in this instance. As a result of this the USOSAFE also enables a patient to be treated safely on a standard ward or anywhere a mattress can be placed. Additionally the possibility of the USOSAFE to be used on a standard ward is helpful if in the future individual cases of Covid19 occur and require treatment in general hospital environments.

USOSAFE may also be helpful in containing people who are starting to show a deterioration in their condition at home, and need to self-isolate in order that other household members are not contaminated.

The USOSAFE unit is useful in that it drives down the costs in relation to PPE. Presently, the highly transmissible nature of Covid19 requires that when treating a patient, staff must wear full PPE. Presently hospitals throughout the world are suffering a shortage of PPE as many countries compete for the same resources during the current pandemic. The main manufacturer is China, and with current worlwide lockdown measures, the supply chain for such items are difficult to source.

On the other hand USOSAFE will be manufactured in the UK making it easily accessible to hospitals within this country. Furthermore, the introduction of the USOSAFE unit within hospitals means that PPE will be reduced. Presently PPE is required for each individual nurse and doctor, for every change of shift, and as they go between patients. Instead, housing the patient within the USOSAFE acts as PPE for everyone around that individual. This means that the clothing form of PPE can instead be distributed to staff who are treating "suspected" Covid19 patients in A&E.

It must be stated the USOSAFE will not entirely negate the use of PPE, as any form of close medical intervention with a Covid19 patient will require the appropriate clothing. However, it will drive down the hard necessity of PPE equipment on a ward where all patients are positive.

USOSAFE is also reusable and therefore environmentally friendly. The fabric utilised in its manufacture is suitable to be cleaned with such chemicals that can decontaminate the structure. This means that the USOSAFE can be maintained and retained as part of a hospitals arsenal, if there are further outbreaks of the virus in the future.

Finally, it is hoped the USOSAFE may one day provide a way forward to enable those who are deteriorating from the virus, to be visited safely by their loved ones before they die.

Tania Sinclair

Bsc (Hons) Social Work