Partnerships with national charities announced

Devices for Dignity (D4D) is pleased to announce that it has entered partnerships with two national charities as part of its commitment to Patient and Public Involvement.

The fundamental aim of D4D is to deliver technology solutions to support people with long term conditions – and crucial to this aim is the ability to communicate and engage with the end users of the technology.

As part of our commitment to patient and public involvement, D4D has formed strategic partnerships with key charities operating in the same areas of healthcare in order to explore unmet clinical needs direct from the people who are best placed to identify them – patients and carers.

These partnerships, with the Bladder and Bowel Foundation and Assist UK, have been formed to ensure user needs and views remain at the centre of D4D’s ongoing strategy.

Robert Dixon, Chief Executive of Bladder & Bowel Foundation: “We look forward to the opportunity to work collaboratively with D4D in the future. We believe our ability to represent the views of bladder sufferers within the urinary continence work stream will add real value to both current and future projects.

“We would expect the collaboration to make a real difference in establishing an informed and definitive database of patient needs in this often neglected area of opportunity.”

Alan Norton, Chief Executive of Assist UK, said: “As a member of the D4D Independent Steering Committee, I have advised D4D from both the perspective of CEO of Assist UK and as a disabled person myself.

“D4D has demonstrated a clear commitment to understanding unmet need from a holistic point of view by involving users in all aspects of product design.”

D4D joins the Twitter-sphere

D4D is pleased to announce it has launched a dedicated twitter feed, which can be found at twitter.com/devices4dignity or @Devices4Dignity.

There are over 500 million twitter users worldwide and it is one of the most popular social sharing websites.

Nicola Heron, D4D Programme Manager, said: “Twitter is a great new way for us to share news and information.

“We want to spread the news of D4D as far and wide as possible, as well as engaging with people interested in what we do, and Twitter allows us to do that across modern types of communications technology such as smartphones and tablets.”

Commissing for incontinence, lower urinary tract and bowel symptoms – an audit

Continence, lower urinary tract (LUTS) and bowel symptoms are part of daily life for millions of people across the UK. This report is based on a Freedom of Information request which was sent to every PCT in England to uncover new data about the way that LUTS and continence services are commissioned.

Download the report from the BUI website

Report: 2 in 3 – Delivering world class services for people with continence, lower urinary tract and bowel symptoms

The changes taking place within the NHS provide both an opportunity and a challenge to improving outcomes for people affected by continence, lower urinary and bowel symptoms. This report has been developed by a group of health professionals that came together to consider the current provision of services for people with LUTS, as well as how this might be improved.

Click here to download the report from the BUI website.

D4D wins National Award

Devices for Dignity (D4D), a healthcare technology co-operative, has won a major national award for its pioneering work in delivering technological solutions to support people with long term conditions.

D4D won the Allied Health Professionals and Healthcare Scientists: Leading Together On Health Award at the 2012 Advancing Healthcare Awards (organised by Chamberlain Dunn) at a celebration lunch at the Radisson Blu Portman Square Hotel in London.

The award, sponsored by Unite the Union, was presented to D4D’s clinical director Professor Wendy Tindale by BBC medical correspondent Fergus Walsh.

D4D is a clinician-led formal collaboration between clinicians, patients, academics and industry, to address areas of unmet clinical need where innovations in treatments and technologies have the potential to make a huge impact by both reducing morbidity and improving quality of life.

The collaboration is focused on three key areas: assistive technology, urinary continence management and renal technology. It includes an online capability for people to suggest new ideas and currently runs a portfolio of 25 projects predicted to save the NHS £70million.

Judges commented that the D4D project was ‘a rich combination of partners – clinicians, patients, academics and industry – to achieve great things for people with long term conditions.’

Professor Wendy Tindale said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be recognised for all of the hard work, skill and vision that have contributed to making D4D such a success.

“Winning this award is a fantastic achievement and provides the perfect springboard for us to continue delivering innovative projects which are helping to support people with long term health conditions.”

(L-R): Fergus Walsh (BBC medical correspondent); Zoe Clarke and Andrea Kirton from D4D;
Rachael Maskell (Unite); Jan Sobieraj (MD of NHS & Social Care Workforce, Department of Health)

RAate conference 2011

Devices for Dignity (D4D) works with industry, along with  inventors and clinicians and healthcare professionals who have ideas for medical devices that meet real clinical need.

An exciting invention which was led by Martin Johnson in its development featured a technology which needed clinical guidance make suitable for renal patients. The product is a simple home haemodialysis machine that’s easy to use, needs no cleaning and can be easily transported.

The innovation was inspired by learning about problems associated with current renal treatment using complex machines in hospital and looking at how other non-medical products have been made easy to use at home.

Martin’s team were experienced in developing machines in other markets which were more advanced in design yet smaller and simpler to operate than the current machinery on the market. They were surprised to find that dialysis technology had seen little change in 30 years.

“Technology transfer across markets enables reliable proven ideas to be adapted faster with fewer risks” says Martin, who founded Quanta Fluid Solutions Ltd to develop its unique haemodialysis machine. Martin was referred to D4D when it was first set up in 2008.

“We needed greater knowledge about patient and clinical needs. I’d been working with Dr Elizabeth Lindley, who’s now a D4D renal specialist,” he says.

She had been incredibly helpful to us in discussing the issues that needed addressing through any new product. What D4D has done has enabled us to develop that relationship with Dr Lindley and her team. It has also provided us with access to patients to discuss their needs and requirements from a home dialysis unit. Without D4D I don’t think we’d have had the same quality of  advice and support from clinical staff.”

Most patients who rely on haemodialysis as a treatment for kidney failure have to visit a hospital three times a week to undergo their treatment. With each treatment lasting approximately four hours – with additional time to set up dialysis machines – it’s an incredibly disruptive process for patients and labour intensive and costly for the NHS.

The Quanta machine, which is under development, will enable patients to dialyse themselves at home without the need for nursing help .

The simplicity of the controls will encourage more patients to take control of their treatment and will allow longer and/or more frequent treatment which in turn should have a positive impact on their general level of health and wellbeing.

To encourage patients to use a machine at home, it was important that it was operated like a domestic appliance ,  had an attractive design  and was portable to enable patients to travel anywhere with confidence .

Martin believes the D4D initiative to be invaluable for bringing industry professionals together with those at the coal face. “Industry need regular contact with clinicians to ensure the products we’re developing are meeting a real need medically, but are also in line with what health professionals and patients want,” he says.

Through D4D Martin attended an NHS Innovation Conference in London in June 2009, where the haemodialysis unit attracted the attention of NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson. “Meeting David Nicholson, and hearing him endorsing what we’re doing is fantastic,” says David.

If you’ve got an idea or an invention you’d like to discuss with us, please contact us.

D4D project to offer new support

People with neck weaknesses as a result of neurological diseases are set to benefit from improved designs of neck supports thanks to a new collaborative D4D project.

D4D, SITraN and Sheffield Hallam University have received an NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) grant for the development of a novel neck-collar.

The need for this project was initially proposed by the DeNDRoN Clinical Studies Group for motor neurone disease, with support from carers and patients, who approached D4D with the view that current neck collars are inadequate in terms of function, comfort and cosmesis.

The project originated as one of three case studies used in the D4D/KT EQUAL funded design workshop in July 2010.  The new project will start in April 2012.

D4D and University of Leeds link up for new device

D4D and the University of Leeds have been awarded £356,000 by the NIHR Invention for Innovation early stage scheme to develop new flushable sustainable devices for active continence management. The project is funded for two years and will build on previous research undertaken by the Leeds Centre for Technical Textiles research group to develop systems to actively manage the liquid contents of continence devices to prevent spillages and aid disposal. The Bladder and Bowel Foundation, the UKs largest bladder and bowl charity will be supporting and advising on the project to ensure that any new products meet user needs.