Thursday, 27 October 2016

CATCH joins Facebook to extend its reach @CATCHShef

CATCH is now on Facebook to improve collaboration and generate awareness of our centre, events and activities.
Please like our page here:

With 57 likes in the first week since the page went live, we believe that Facebook is a great platform that will allow us to communicate with patient groups, industry partners, our wider network and the general public about CATCH’s valuable and fascinating research and how you can get involved.

We will also add events to the Facebook events calendar. The upcoming Technology for Independence conference on 28/11/2016 is now open for registration.

To match our shiny new Facebook page, we have a new Twitter handle too: @CATCHshef.

To stay up to date with our latest news, simply like our page and follow us on Twitter.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

CATCH project joins Sheffield startups and entrepreneurs to come together to drive innovation

CATCH project NANA joined entrepreneurs and startups in revealing new solutions which will re-energise Sheffield and help its residents live independently at an event on Thursday 29th September.

The ’Demo Day’, which which took place at Sheffield Hallam University, showcased innovative ideas that have been developed in the city over the past year as part of the Sheffield Smart Lab programme.

The Sheffield Smart Lab initiative, a partnership between Sheffield City Council, Amey and the Ferrovial Services Centre of Excellence for Cities, invited entrepreneurs and startup businesses to submit ideas that would help to address the two different challenges.
Over 50 ideas were received from entrepreneurs and startup businesses around the world, which were narrowed down to just nine winning solutions.  NANA, a system that monitors the nutritional intake and cognitive function of older adults, was one of the nine winning solutions.

The winning entrepreneurs and startups were awarded with an incubation and acceleration programme, sponsored by the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, and the opportunity to develop their solutions in the city.

They presented their developed solutions at the Demo Day event, showing how their solutions can benefit Sheffield’s residents and visitors.

Simon Butler, Centre Manager for CATCH, who, alongside PhD student Jake Andrews, presented NANA at the event said “it is a fantastic endorsement of the potential of NANA that it was selected as one of the nine winners of the Sheffield Smart Lab. Winning this competition has allowed us to start working on a trial of the system in Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust services that offer short term care and rehabilitation to older people who have experienced a period of ill health or have been in hospital.”

Cllr Leigh Bramall, deputy leader and cabinet member for business for Sheffield City Council, said: “As a council, it is important to us that we drive innovation in Sheffield. There’s an energy and appetite for it in the city and we recognise that in order to do this we need to partner with startups and innovators.

“That’s what Sheffield Smart Lab is all about and by supporting entrepreneurs and helping them to build on their ideas and making them a reality; we have benefited both them and the city.

“The challenges that the solutions solve are hugely important to Sheffield and this has given us a great opportunity to offer a better quality of life for the people of Sheffield and attract visitors to the city centre.“

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Meet the 50 faces of CATCH

As the centre continues to grow, we introduce the 50 faces of CATCH: a diverse team comprised of different groups working towards the same goal: to research, develop, evaluate and implement new technologies to enable people to live well and age well.

Originally founded by Professors Mark Hawley and Pam Enderby, the Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology group (RAT) began in 2007 when Mark and his team joined Pam in the School of Health and Related Research at the University of Sheffield. Nine years on and a number of the original members remain in CATCH.

Today, with 50 members in the core team, CATCH occupies more than one small office. We’re very fortunate to count some top academics in the fields of Health Services Research, Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare amongst our core team. This includes our Centre Director Professor Mark Hawley who also leads the Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Group, Professor Sue Mawson who leads the NIHR CLAHRC (Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care) Yorkshire and Humber, Professor Arlene Astell and Professor Gail Mountain.
Research remains at the core of what we do and, to facilitate this, the centre is made up of a number of groups, from PhD students and researchers developing knowledge to contribute to the development and evaluation of new technologies, to Professional Services colleagues driving business development, marketing strategy and vital project support.

CLAHRC theme Telehealth and Care Technologies forms just one group under the CATCH umbrella. A number of CATCH researchers’ and academics’ work is focussed here.

The six-weekly CATCH Networking lunches were pioneered by members of the team in Professional Services roles, reiterating the importance of face-to-face networking to spark future collaborations. When the wider network and our collaborators were invited to come and meet our new Professor Luc de Witte this month, the lunch grew into our most successful event to date. To register for the next Networking Lunch on Wednesday 30th November from 12.15 - 14.00, please contact Laura Murray.

In addition to the work of the core team, we also bring together and co-ordinate the activities of more than 70 academics, across 17 departments and five faculties allowing our research to tap into specialist knowledge which extends further than Medicine, Science and Engineering to Architecture and English to name a few.

To discover the people behind the research, you can meet our team here.

Monday, 24 October 2016

NIHR Devices for Dignity Healthcare Technology Co-operative

Why is it so important to consider dignity during technology development?
The development of technology to assist or simplify medical diagnoses, treatment and management can provide the opportunity to greatly improve patient experiences and medical outcomes.  However, addressing only the patient’s clinical needs in isolation misses the opportunity to achieve genuinely effective solutions. For patients, their ability to live with dignity can have a big impact on their health and happiness. Truly effective and enduring technologies should therefore be developed with users, and should consider how, where and when they will use the technology; if a user dislikes using a technology, they are less likely to use it. An example of a technology that D4D is developing in partnership with patients and other collaborators is the Sheffield Support Snood collar for people with neck muscle weakness. The collar has been designed to be more wearable and adaptable than other support collars, and is currently undergoing a clinical evaluation.
“Other, more rigid collars were painful – I couldn’t wear them for too long, I can wear this collar for 8 hours straight  – I wear it at work” -Anonymous patient participant comment in clinical study of new collar design
“This collar gives support but also more freedom of movement – I can wear it to drive”- Anonymous patient participant comment in the clinical study of the new collar design
By developing technologies around users’ wider needs rather than just patients’ clinical needs, and by taking into account the needs of everyone involved in a project from early stages, projects can be designed well, and all partners can benefit. 
·       Patients can experience fewer disruptions and exert greater control over their lives, which is likely to lead to greater satisfaction and adherence to their treatment, and better wellbeing.
·       Healthcare professionals are also users of technologies with their patients, so clinical input into device design can help ensure that technology adoption challenges are anticipated early in the development process and can be addressed in the context of existing practices, training and systems.
·       Technology companies can develop solutions that are likely to be better received by the patients and clinicians using them.
The resulting well-designed technologies are more beneficial to patients and users, so may benefit from patient- and clinical ‘pull’, which helps ensure the solution is widely sought, can help drive faster widespread adoption, and helps the company to establish itself more effectively within the health market place.
For this reason D4D works closely with and values the involvement of patients and carers, clinicians, researchers, designers, charities and industry partners when developing technology solutions. By building such partnerships we can ensure that the solutions that we develop maintain or promote people’s dignity - and by extension their wellbeing - at the same time as addressing their clinical needs.

Partners in the development of the Sheffield Support Snood are the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITRaN) at the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS FT, Barnsley NHS FT and the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA).

Friday, 21 October 2016

Sheffield Occupational Therapy Clinical Academic Network (SOTCA): First open meeting a huge success!

Laura Di Bona

A group of occupational therapists based in and around Sheffield have developed a network to advance occupational therapy knowledge and practice. The network, SOTCA, aims to improve outcomes and experiences for service users of a diverse range of occupational therapy services across the region. SOTCA hopes to achieve this through forming cross-organisational collaborations and providing peer support to occupational therapists trying to improve practice or develop a clinical academic career. It is open to any occupational therapist who shares our aims, whether you are a student, newly qualified, highly experienced, retired or anything in between.

SOTCA’s first open meeting was held on 13th October 2016 and attended by seventeen occupational therapists from seven organisations. It was hosted by Colette Fegan at Sheffield Hallam University who treated us to a tour of their innovative teaching facilities. The meeting was then used for networking, forming collaborations and peer support. The amount of knowledge and enthusiasm in the room was amazing, so we certainly have plenty to offer each other. The atmosphere was energising, optimistic and conversation flowed long after the meeting was due to finish! Old friends caught up and new friendships were formed. Future goals of the group were set and these include developing collaborations and links (especially between practice and research), learning from each other and improving practice.

The next meeting will be in January 2017. If you are an occupational therapist who would like to join our network, please contact Laura Di Bona (

At the January meeting we plan to share some of our clinical academic / occupational therapy research experiences and journeys, do get in touch with Laura if you would like to share.

Some recommendations from the meeting:

  • College of Occupational Therapists Research and Development Bulletin. If you are a BAOT member and wish to receive these bulletins email Lesley Gleaves, R&D Administrator (  

  • Council for Allied Health Professionals Research. If you would like to be added to their mail list please contact Stephanie Portier, with your full name, email address, profession and which region you are based in. There is a forthcoming event entitled “How to be an AHP clinician who does research”. Thursday, 3rd November 2016 6-9 pm. Sheffield Hallam University.

 Written by Laura Di Bona