A new device is aiming to change the lives of the thousands of people in the UK who use stoma bags. The ConfiPlus, which has been developed by Anne Inch who uses a stoma bag herself, is designed to give people more time to change their bags when they are full. It fits around the bag and uses absorbent medical grade material to collect any leakage.
Anne Inch, who's husband Iain also uses a stoma bag, said: “Iain was in hospital and in a single day, his bag leaked nine times. Changing hospital sheets has a huge impact on nursing time and Iain was understandably distressed. I went home that night and designed ConfiPlus using a disposable bedsheet."
“It allows people to go to work wearing a white shirt, play at school, or go out to dinner happy in the knowledge that they won’t have an embarrassing moment. It is often the fear of a leak that destroys someone’s confidence, so we have created an insurance policy. Because ConfiPlus is so absorbent, the user has time to go and change even if their bag does leak as the waste is absorbed by ConfiPlus. When I brought my design into the hospital the next day and Iain tried it, everyone on the ward wanted one and the nurses couldn’t believe how effective it was.”
Anne has been working with Heriot-Watt University to have the ConfiPlus listed on prescription. Professor Marc Desmulliez, manager of the Medical Device Manufacturing Centre (MDMC) at Heriot-Watt University, said: “We recognise the incredibly life-changing potential of this device for both patients and healthcare practitioners, so we are supporting ConfiPlus by helping them to introduce the product into clinical settings as quickly as possible."
Dr Desmulliez added: "Navigating the process of clinical evaluation is difficult and tortuous for new companies. The NHS regulatory landscape is necessarily complex to protect patients, but it also slows down the introduction of products that could save significant money for the NHS, reduce nurse intervention and free hospital beds.”
One in every 400 people who have surgery in the UK uses a stoma bag during their recovery in order to create an opening in their body to discharge waste.