Incontinence places a huge burden on healthcare systems and has a major impact on quality of life for thousands of patients of all ages in the UK. It receives little attention within the medical research sector and current technological interventions are limited in their function and effectiveness.
In 2016 a placement project was funded by the Wellcome Trust through its Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) and aimed to improve understanding of incontinence assessment, treatment and management, using an engineering perspective to help identify, interpret and ultimately address the clinical and patient challenges.
This work provided a detailed view of incontinence across the patient pathway encompassing patients, healthcare professionals and industry representatives. It centred around visits to shadow clinicians at St James’s Hospital in Leeds to experience first-hand the practices involved.
Reporting via this website, a regular Twitter stream and articles in medical and scientific journals and magazines, the findings from this project raised the profile of incontinence within the scientific and engineering communities. Its outputs reached a broad audience, boosting awareness of this critical area of need and encouraging interest in research to address its challenges.