Home Care Nurse’s Passion Leads to Drainage Bulb Holder Invention

Drainage bulbs can be frustrating for patients and caregivers. But they don’t have to be, thanks to an innovative R.N., her mother and a sewing machine.

As a wound care professional, you’ve probably had at least some experience with patients who need drains as part of the post-procedure healing process. But what you might not be familiar with are the feelings of angst and frustration that often plague patients and caregivers when they are faced with managing the drains successfully. Thanks to a determined nurse and some creative problem-solving, we now have solutions.

The Problem with Drainage Bulbs
Mary Robinson Prody, R.N., has spent years in Florida and Minnesota as a home care nurse working with patients – many of whom had post-surgical drains. And she witnessed the same scenario time and time again: patients struggling to attach drains to their clothing with uncooperative (and often painful) safety pins. One patient in particular left quite a long-lasting impression.

“I’ll never forget the look on her face when I was caring for her,” said Prody. “Here she was dealing with breast cancer, but after surgery, what ended up being just as frustrating for her was having to manage and secure those drains.”

Despite the frustrations, Prody continued to assist patients in figuring out how to properly secure the bulbs below the insertion site. The turning point, however, was when she visited a patient who had created a MacGyver-like contraption to secure the drains, simply because she wanted to take a shower. It ended up being a sling-like device made of shoe laces and safety pins that hung around her neck.

“That was the day I realized there just had to be a better alternative out there,” Prody said. “But when I did some research on my own in hopes of discovering one, I couldn’t find anything.”

Passion Leads to Action
Drain Bulb Holder
And that’s when Prody decided to do something about it (with the help of her mother, who could sew). Over time, they experimented with different fabrics and designs, and finally came up with a prototype. The end result? The patented Drainage Bulb Holder, which is a soft and adjustable non-latex strap that individually secures up to 4 drains. And even better, it’s worn independent of clothing during the day, can be worn in bed at night, and can even be used in the shower if the surgeon allows.

The Holder has been on the market for nine years now, and Prody has since developed additional products, including an Abdominal Binder with the patented drain fasteners, and a special kit that contains all the needed components for drain care, including patient education and step-by-step directions featured on a Drainage Output Record Sheet. It helps ensure patient compliance and that discharge goals are met.

The Word is Spreading
Although both individuals and facilities can purchase Prody’s products, her personal goal is to have more physicians, plastic surgeons and hospitals – the medical staff – be able to provide options to patients before surgery for post-op drain care. So far, her products are offered in 155 facilities across the nation.

“I’m passionate about helping patients have a better post-op experience,” Prody said. “They should be able to focus on healing instead of dealing with frustrating drainage bulbs. I want to help improve their quality of life.”

Prody said that clinicians and facilities can request free samples by calling (800) 328-1095, or sending an email to orders@birdcronin.com. You can also find out more details at the Promedics Products website.

Interested in reading about similar innovations in wound care? Check out this inspirational story about a cancer patient’s husband who, after caring for his wife suffering from cancer, turned their frustrations into action – and an invention that is helping others.

Can You Relate?
Have you had much experience with drainage bulbs and frustrated patients? And have you found any solutions of your own that you’d like to share? Please leave your comments or reactions below.

Wound Care Education Institute® provides online and onsite courses in the fields of Skin, Wound, Diabetic and Ostomy Management. Health care professionals who meet the eligibility requirements may sit for the prestigious WCC®, DWC® and OMS national board certification examinations through the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy® (NAWCO®). For more information see wcei.net.