Impact of Innovative Clothing Design on Caregivers’ Workload

  • Karlien Van CauwelaertEmail author
  • Veerle Hermans
  • Kristien Selis
  • Liesbeth Daenen
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 818)


Background: Prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders in nurses is the highest for the back, followed by the shoulders and the neck. ‘Dressing and undressing of patients’ is experienced as a physically-demanding task by caregivers. But also for the patient: it is often uncomfortable and sometimes even painful. Due to many variations in patterns and fastening systems, the existing custom-clothing is not in accordance with the ergonomic rules. Objective: This study aimed at (1) investigating the impact of innovative custom-clothing on caregivers’ physical workload (i.e. percentage of harmful postures at the neck, back and shoulders and duration of exposure to the physically-demanding task) and (2) examining its usability and comfort for caregivers as well as patients. Methodology: Eight caregivers and one healthy, elderly person (as patient) were included in the study. An innovative custom-clothing design with magnetic buttons was used to test the study hypothesis. Caregivers were asked to dress the patient (i.e. a pair of trousers, undershirt and shirt) according to 3 conditions: (1) with traditional clothing (control group), (2) with custom-clothing using press buttons (press button group) and (3) with innovative custom-clothing using magnetic buttons (magnetic button group). Duration of the dressing task was evaluated and postures of neck, back and shoulders were measured using Tea CAPTIV instrument. A structured questionnaire was used to evaluate its usability and feasibility. Results: Dressing time was significantly reduced in the magnetic and press button group compared to the control group (respectively p = .003 and p = .013). For postures of the back (i.e. rotation and forward flexion), neck (i.e. flexion) and shoulders (i.e. flexion), no significant differences were found between control, press button and magnetic button group (p > .05). The caregivers agreed that the innovative custom-clothing using magnetic buttons was easier and smoother in use.


Innovative clothing design Caregivers’ workload Usability 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karlien Van Cauwelaert
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Veerle Hermans
    • 3
    • 4
  • Kristien Selis
    • 2
  • Liesbeth Daenen
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.University College OdiseeBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Department of ErgonomicsGroup IDEWE (External Service for Prevention and Protection at Work)BrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Group IDEWELouvainBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, Work and Organisational Psychology (WOPS), Faculty of Psychology and Education SciencesVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  5. 5.Knowledge, Information and Research CenterGroup IDEWELouvainBelgium
  6. 6.Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Human Physiology and Anatomy (KIMA), Faculty of Physical Education and PhysiotherapyVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium

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