A patent has been granted for a new grip aid solution for patients with cerebral palsy and other conditions in which poor hand function limits daily activities. The aid allows patients with no, or very limited, grip strength to hold objects.
Initially, the grip aid, EazyHold (EZ), was designed with adults in mind by the developers — three sisters with a family history of rheumatoid arthritis. But the sisters soon discovered the unmet need of grip aid devices for infants and children with cerebral palsy and many other diseases characterized by limited hand function.
The aids, made of food-grade silicone that can be cleaned at high temperatures, are an upgrade to current grip aids that may spread bacteria. This makes the device suitable for use in settings were hygiene is crucial, such as in hospitals and schools.
“We made our EZs of food grade silicone which supports no bacterial growth and can be washed and dried at high temperatures, which makes them the first choice for use in hospitals and schools,” Wendy Mellin, one of the three developers who knows the importance of hygiene from working in food services for 20 years, said in a press release.
The aid grip, made of soft silicone, allows people with very limited or even no grip strength to hold objects such as eating utensils, pens, toothbrushes, toys, or music instruments by attaching the object with the silicone strap.
“Our EZs mean the difference between a child with special needs holding their first teether, bottle, spoon or toy without needing a caregiver’s hand over hand assistance. All huge developmental milestones for every child to learn and achieve,” said Kerry Mellin, who designed the aid.
“And for the adult, being able to do for oneself allows for a full, dignified, independent life,” she said, adding that coincidentally the EazyHold was granted its patent on Independence Day.
The product already been endorsed by therapists working with children and adults.
“Once in a while, a new product hits the market that can be a game changer,” said Margaret Rice, a therapist.
“The biggest benefit is that the child can explore the object developing a greater cognitive understanding of the object through the use of the EazyHold versus not being able to pick up the object at all … Movement through play drives learning in children. Your EazyHold provides that pathway for movement and exploration” Rice added.
Erika Reeves, an occupational therapist, believes that the EazyHold may become a standard in the tools available to therapists.
“As an occupational therapist, I have dealt with the struggles of ill-fitted universal cuffs and the difficulties of keeping cuffs clean for quite some time,” she said, adding that the experience with the new grip aids has been completely different.
“I’ve had patients feed themselves, resume handwriting or simply brush their doll’s hair with these products. I’ve seen parents, caregivers and patients experience new joys that they thought were only in the past. I highly suggest these for in-clinic use and as products to promote to patients,” said Reeves.