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AZ Groeninge innovates with new drinking cup UpCup: “Empowering patients to drink independently”

AZ Groeninge now utilizes the UpCup for patients facing difficulties in drinking. The UpCup is an innovative project that includes input from the patients themselves.

Within AZ Groeninge, there is a strong focus on achievable and warm care. Speech therapists from the geriatrics departments were given the opportunity to develop their project for feasible meal care. An important aspect of this is maintaining hydration through regular and safe drinking.

“However, the speech therapists, occupational therapists, and nurses at AZ Groeninge are daily confronted with the limited self-sufficiency that patients experience while drinking,” says product designer Manu Janssens. “Patients struggle to firmly grip a glass or cup. Often, the drinking process is uncontrolled and unsafe, increasing the risk of choking. Based on these experiences, we wanted to address this issue.”

AZ Groeninge sought tools to restore autonomy to patients. “We tested many existing aids, but they proved unsuitable. In our search, we came across Bouncer, a start-up aiming to enhance people’s self-sufficiency by developing and commercializing ADL (Activities of Daily Living) products. In collaboration with them, we co-created the UpCup. It is an ergonomic cup where speech therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, logistics staff, and patients were involved in the design process, each contributing their expertise and experience.”

Project Objective

The goal of the new ergonomic drinking cup is to enable independent drinking. “The benefits of this regained autonomy are twofold,” says Janssens. “Firstly, our patients achieve increased self-sufficiency. Additionally, our nurses experience a reduction in workload. The freed-up time can be allocated to other tasks.” AZ Groeninge aims to share its expertise with other healthcare institutions if needed.

This article was written by Kris Vanhee for the newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.