Dignisen: wearable tech for incontinence
4 million people in the UK suffer from severe incontinence, and as a condition that frequently accompanies ageing, it affects as many as half of care-home residents.
Absorbent pads help manage the problem, however patients are often left in wet pads far too long—leading to serious urinary infections and pressure ulcers that require hospital admissions and can even cause death. Pressure ulcers cost the NHS around £49million per year in hospital admissions.
Dignisen consists of a simple monitoring bracelet worn by carers that connects to moisture-sensors in patients’ pads that show when these need to be changed. Unlike the disposable version from competitors, the sensor is washable, reusable, lasts for a year, and the monitoring device is mobile - lowering its price point and upping its functionality.
Nominet Trust funding is to develop the management platform and app so the system and product (for which a patent is pending) can be trialled in care homes. As well as preventing medical problems, reducing hospital admissions and improving patient wellbeing (being left for long periods in wet pads can leave patients feeling embarrassed, humiliated, depressed or isolated), Dignisen will help care organisations save money on pads that didn’t need to be changed, and cut the time staff needlessly spend checking pads.
Dignisen will also create a new dataset showing care homes’ speed of response to their sensors’ signals, by which family members can compare levels of incontinence response excellence when choosing a home. The start-up’s founders have a long history in industrial engineering and IT.