ITP Spring Show 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2-6pm & Monday, May 11, 5-9 pm

Milena Selkirk

The IVY Jacket

The IVY jacket is a garment for long-term intravenous (I.V.) users, constructed to hold I.V. apparatus and improve their quality of life, making patients more mobile, independent, and able to see the world.

Persuasive Technologies: Designing the Human,Wearables Studio

The IVY jacket is a fashion/medical line of clothing for long-term intravenous (I.V.) users both in hospitals and in home-care. After watching my grandmother spend the last months of her life hooked up to an I.V., I wanted to find a way to make I.V. patients feel better and less sick. My first thought was movement, having the freedom to move at one’s will, and even travel outside of the hospital or bedroom, which is difficult since standard I.V. apparatus requires the patient to remain stationary (for the most part) while receiving treatment. To tackle this issue, I designed an outerwear clothing line for I.V. patients, where their jacket's inner vest holds two I.V. bags, connecting fluid tubes, and an infusion pump, which regulates the rate at which fluid drips and alerts the user when it’s to get a new I.V. bag, which they can then change by themselves, without the help of a nurse. In addition the jacket has several options for needle entries, depending on the patient's needs. The inner vest can be worn under a series of fashion-forward jackets, which will improve the patient's self-esteem, making them more confident and allowing them to escape the sometimes stifling "hospital" mindset.

I worked with Laura Hanson, a nurse, who runs the epliepsy division at Beth Israel hospital. Laura had a lot of experience with IVs themselves and assisting IV patients. I researched bag weight (initially I had two 500 ml IV bags, but moved down to 250 ml bags), patient strength, temperature issues, the best materials to use. My Wearables teacher Zach Eveland was a great resource for information on peristaltic pumps and how they work and I also looked at many Alaris pump models. I also learned how to sew, taking many trips to the fashion district and also checked out Burda open source sewing online.

Health care providers and professionals, I.V. patients (both short and long term) and their families, as well as the general public that may have interest in improving the quality of life for those around them.

Mesh fabric, cotton, velcro, neoprene, tubing, IV bags, a battery operated infusion pump.

My original design idea was to make a jacket, but as I got into making it, I realized that a vest was more appropriate. Although a formal vest may not even be necessary. Future iterations may simply include neck/chest piece, tubing, and belt