Fashion Design Students developed a unique product for treating sexual assault victims

A collaboration between the Department of Fashion Design at Shenkar and Lev Hasharon Medical Center for Mental Health featuring a fresh look on an innovative practice.

A weighted blanket is a therapy product; it weighs 12-15 kilograms and is used in the treatment of sexual assault victims. At Lev Hasharon Medical Center there is a department that specializes in treating such patients that has been using the blanket for several years. The patient is put into a treatment room in a state of trauma or psychotic episode; the medical staff lays them down on a pouf and covers them with the weighted blanket. The effect of the blanket’s weight helps to calm the patient in these extreme states.

Although this is an existing product that has been used at Lev, it is still defined as a “product in progress”; over the years of using weighted blankets, questions are still arising in efforts to maximize the practical and design aspects of weighted blankets.

The Department of Fashion Design at Shenkar, headed by Mrs. Leah Perez, agreed to collaborate on a voluntary basis with Lev Hasharon Medical Center at the initiative of researcher and mind-body therapist Dr. Anat Engel and Mrs. Orly Dankner, Chair of the Association of Friends of Lev Hasharon Medical Center for Mental Health, mediated by Mrs. Hila Rahav.

    Gali Nir and Noa Baruch alongside their winning design  

Third-year students at the Department of Fashion Design met with the medical staff headed by Dr. Shmuel Hirschmann, Director of Lev Hasharon Medical Center and Director of the Sexual Trauma Unit, and Ms. Amalia Ben Moshe, a social worker, psychotherapist, and Head of Trauma at Lev Hasharon Medical Center. In the introductory meeting the medical staff presented the complexity of the treatment setting and the use made of weighted blankets. The students were asked to provide practical and design solutions to improve the existing product, make it more efficient, more attractive and pleasant to the touch, and all within constraints of using the right materials and meeting accepted hospital and treatment department standards.

The students, who volunteered to participate in the project, and the senior faculty at the Department of Fashion Design, who volunteered to supervise and accompany the students, worked for several months. On 15 April 2018 they held a presentation and presented ten design variations for the weighted blanket.

The Department’s team of senior instructors included Ms. Rachel Berman Hadari, Ms. Idit Barak, Ms. Maya Arazi, Mr. Renen Ben David, Mr. Moni Mednik, and Mr. Ronen Levin, who guided and coordinated the project.

Second Prize winner Netta Ittah

At the presentation the students presented solutions for the blanket on the one hand, taking into account its weight, size, shape, and using heavy filling materials, and on the other, they also presented ideas for the cover in which emphasis was placed on pleasant-to-the-touch, practical materials (easy to clean, washable), on soothing colors, and practical design elements such as pockets, head pillows, and wrapping, covering, and wearing options.

At the conclusion of the presentation the panel of judges appointed by Lev Hasharon Medical Center, which included Dr. Shmuel Hirschmann, Ms. Amalia Ben Moshe, and Ms. Essi Tigner Hous (phototherapist, in charge of occupational therapy in Active Ward D), awarded the first prize to the product that best meets the majority of criteria from a therapy perspective, and which they intend to recommend for manufacture in large quantities.

The second and third prizes were awarded, in consultation with Ms. Leah Perez and Mr. Ronen Levin, to projects that displayed creativity, originality, ideology, and fresh design.

Third prize winners Tamar Paz, Noam Frankel, and Yarden Admian

First Prize was awarded to Gali Nir and Noa Baruch (joint project)

Second Prize was awarded to Netta Ittah

Third Prize was awarded to two projects by Tamar Paz, Noam Frankel, and Yarden Admian, a Department of Industrial Design student (joint project)

An additional Encouragement Prize was awarded to Keren Chernov.

The staff at Lev Hasharon Medical Center places great importance on implementing the product in practice, and intends to use the project to expose the phenomenon and heighten awareness in the general public.

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