As music performance majors, students often face the question: What are you going to do with that? Looking back, Stella Markova’s answer might be unexpected. The University of Utah student has dedicated the last year to creating a homecare product with help from the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, SitUP.
Markova’s husband first came up with the idea of an inflatable bed pad while caring for his father. The couple saw a need for an easy-to-use and affordable device to help caretakers do their job better after some research revealed limited options. SitUP will be a bed addition, which inflates via an electronic remote. Basically, it is a wedge pillow, but unlike most wedge pillows, it inflates. It sits under the patient’s back on the bed, flattened, and the remote inflates the wedge, lifting the patient to a 45-degree angle. This would give the patient control over when they want to sit or lie down and prevent the caretaker from injuring themselves trying to lift their patient.
“It’s a cross between an adjustable bed and a wedge pillow,” Markova explained. “Increasing healthcare costs drive the need for less costly home health care, as well as affordable homecare products. Home health care needs it because they need affordable options to help them help others.” Markova started by talking to home health care providers and was overwhelmed by the response. “Everyone we talked to was like ‘you have to do this, you have to make it, this will help a lot of people,’” and she has been working on it ever since.
Find this article and a lot more in the 2019 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers and entrepreneurs.