Devices for dignity (D4D)

Examples of devices designed to improve self respect.

Devices for Dignity (D4D) at Sheffield is a National pilot Department of Health programme which spans both the NHS and the University. D4D has been set up to drive forward innovative new products, processes and services to help people with debilitating conditions deal with their daily challenges.

Through working with inventors, clinical and healthcare staff, industry, academics and patients, we want to bring real solutions to areas of clinical and patient need. We have the ability to take ideas from concept through to commercialisation and aim to do this as rapidly as possible. We are unique in that we have a national focus and are able to provide hands-on support to innovators, rather than simply pointing in the right direction. This means D4D can speed up the process from idea to market.

Our work currently focuses on three key areas:

  1. Assistive technologies
    Sometimes the simplest of devices can have a huge effect on a person’s independence and dignity. Our approach to assistive technology is quite broad, which means we can consider a range of ideas, whether they are technologically advanced, or a change to an existing assistive device. We consider any device or technology that helps a person to perform tasks more independently, regain some control over certain aspects of their lives and assist them with daily living as part of this theme. This can range from high-tech solutions such as complex communication aids or remote controls for the lights in the house through to less sophisticated, but no less useful devices.
  2. Urinary continence management
    Lower urinary tract symptoms can be the cause of morbidity and can severely impair quality of life for those affected. Within this programme, we aim to be responsive to patient needs – we’re focused on improving both diagnosis and quality of life for those experiencing voiding difficulties and also with urinary continence issues.
  3. Renal technologies
    Approximately 50,000 people in the UK have kidneys that have failed. Only around half of these people have a working kidney transplant, whilst the rest rely on regular treatment with either haemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. The development of systems, devices and service to assist renal patients’ independence and help achieve better outcomes is the key aim of the D4D Renal Technology theme.


Wendy Tindale

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