Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) is a rare genetic skin disorder which requires intensive hand therapy to delay fusion of the digits. Existing dressings do not conform to the complex structure of the hand and are applied in patches held with additional bandages, leading to an occlusive environment. The aim was to co-design with patients a dressing glove based on their user experiences and needs.
Qualitative interviews and focus groups with children and adults with RDEB, and their carers, were conducted. Iterative feedback of design cues, bench and surrogate testing of materials and prototype refinement were achieved through collaborative codesign with patients, carers, clinicians and manufacturers.
Thematic analysis generated eight user needs and corresponding design cues, addressing issues of absorbency, adherence, comfort, adaptability, ease of application and removal, breathability, protection, and hand hygiene. A prototype was selected for proof of concept testing.
This novel dressing glove design met the patient's requirements for a dressing, which conformed to the hand structure and sat in the web spaces to keep fingers separated. Proof of concept testing has since been undertaken with patients to determine performance, value for money and whether further developments are required.