Thought up by Liza Grant, a palliative care nurse of Stanhope Road, South Shields, the ‘comfort straw’ comes from an idea born out of the issue of providing semi-comatose patients with water.
Miss Grant, who lost her sister to breast cancer, explains: “She used to have the sponges and hated them,” she said. “Your mouth is sensitive and the sponge is rough and takes away the mouth lining.”
This device will let patients in a partial coma, without the ability to drink, control fluid intake and satisfy their thirst.
As well as a monetary prize, Miss Grant has won the chance for her idea to be developed by either Durham or Newcastle university for a clinical trial, after which it could be rolled out.
As is often the case with BIG ideas, they are born out of frustration with an unsatisfactory situation and desire to make that particular process or product better or more efficient. Good to see some innovative and humane thinking being recognised and encouraged.