Trio of continence innovations win £35k funding share

Continence 'app', paediatric leg bag, and pelvic floor enhancement device win share of Devices for Dignity moneypot

Great Bear’s Pippa Bowkett (middle left) and Lindsey Carruthers (left) with Professor Paul Abrams (middle-right) and Professor Chris Chapple (right)

Manufacturers of an app that helps with the management of lower urinary tract symptoms, a paediatric leg bag for children who need catheterisation, and a pelvic floor enhancement device will share in a £35,000 moneypot aimed at accelerating the development of continence devices.

The three projects have been awarded the cash as part of the Devices for Dignity (D4D) initiative, which was announced in August and challenged teams of designers and clinical specialists to develop technological solutions to support people with long-term conditions, with a particular focus on enabling them to maintain their independence.

If successful, we will be able to save many patients unnecessary visits to diagnostic clinics and assist their management of fluids

Continence management was chosen as the theme of this year’s Proof of Concept Competition with manufacturers asked to come up with devices that would specifically aid people with dementia and children and young adults as well as self-help tools to promote self management.

The first prize has been awarded to Andrew Gammie from the Bristol Urological Institute (BUI) to accelerate development of a fluid management system. This ‘app’ informs and empowers patients to manage lower urinary tract symptoms that are troublesome, but do not require medical intervention.

Gammie said: “This is great news. I have been thinking about this idea for several years and it can now finally be brought to the testing stage. If successful, we will be able to save many patients unnecessary visits to diagnostic clinics and assist their management of fluids.”

Also awarded funding was Pippa Bowkett from Cardiff-based Great Bear Healthcare. The money will be used to develop the Baby Bear Leg Bag; a child-friendly paediatric leg bag for very young children who need catheterisation.

She said: “We are delighted to have won the D4D competition. As a UK manufacturer of urology products this award will help not only the end user, young children, but also ensures the design, development and manufacturing stays in Cardiff.”

The final grant was given to Eleanor van den Heuvel from Brunel University for Don’t Wee, a project that takes the notion of biofeedback for pelvic floor exercise to a new dimension.

She said: “The Don’t Wee is going to be an exciting project to be involved in. It has huge potential benefits for improving women’s continence status.”

“The excellent applications which we received emphasised the innovative ideas that are awaiting development and which D4D is keen to identify and nurture for the benefit of patients

The winners will now be given the opportunity to work with D4D’s national experts’ network, resources and specialist clinicians, bridging the gap between initial concepts, securing grant funding and attracting early-stage investment.

Professor Chris Chapple, D4D’s urinary continence management theme lead, said: “This has been a wonderful opportunity for D4D to help drive and support innovations in this area of clinical need.

“The excellent applications which we received emphasised the innovative ideas that are awaiting development and which D4D is keen to identify and nurture for the benefit of patients.”

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