Diagnosed with MS 12 years ago, Fernando was forced to take early retirement due the daily struggles he faces with bladder control.... Find out more
The winning idea BladdeRunner, is an ingenious app designed to solve Fernando’s challenge.
Fernando struggles with bladder control, an issue that has a negative effect on his social relationships, his self-esteem and his independence. The urgency to urinate that Fernando experiences can happen at any time, and this unpredictability makes everyday activities – from getting the bus to simply going for a walk – a real source of fear and anxiety. This has a huge impact on his self-confidence
The BladdeRunner app could now change all that.
BladdeRunner is a free, globally accessible app, that addresses several needs of those suffering from bladder control issues. It connects the community and improves awareness of this everyday struggle, having been considered from the point-of-view of the patient, the care-giver and the wider society. Clever features of the app give users more independence, easier routine management, higher self-esteem and, ultimately, improves quality of life of those living with MS.
Team TEM is made up of three people from Portugal. Firstly, we have João, who is 44 years old and working in the insurance sector. However, due to a diagnosis of MS a few years ago, João will soon be taking early retirement. Up until last year, he was also the president of a Portuguese NGO focused on MS patients and their caregivers. Then we have Patrícia, who is 25 years old and works in journalism, focusing primarily in the healthcare area. And last, but by no means least, we have Catarina, who is 21 years old and a recent graduate in Public Relations and Corporate Communication. She is now doing an internship with a Portuguese communication agency whose main clients are from the pharmaceutical and health sectors.
Fernando’s challenge was undoubtedly an inspiration, not only for the enormous impact it has on the MS community but also because one of our team members, João, actually experiences it.
Diagnosed with MS in 2012, João knows first-hand the life changing effect bladder control issues can have on the daily life and self-esteem of those who experience it. And so we wanted to find a solution for him, just as much as the wider community.
Our project aims to be a way to boost the self-esteem of patients, helping them to plan their daily life, gain control over their lives and address the isolation that can result from living with MS. Its strengths lie in its ease of use and its inclusiveness, as it is equally applicable for those with other diseases such as Parkinson’s and those with mobility issues.
Its features include RUN4, which allows you to search for accommodation, restaurants and means of transport according to your bladder needs. Another useful feature is the Bladder Diary which starts to recognise your bladder pattern and predicts your critical moments, warning you in advance. The app also has an SOS Loo button which alerts you to your nearest toilet when you’re out and about, and with a built-in Priority Access Card, means you have immediate access. The Priority Access Card will be accepted in any establishment which supports the programme. The app also allows users to chat to each other and share their experiences.
Firstly, thank you! Every vote for our idea was a vote for a more inclusive society. By enabling people living with this daily struggle to know their way round town, we can provide them with the same sense of freedom they had before their diagnosis. Our app can help knock down the barriers brought about by anxiety caused from having a bladder control issue and/or from the use of wheelchairs. Together, we’re giving them a chance to let go of the fear.
Every vote for our idea is a vote for a more inclusive society. By enabling people living with this daily struggle to know their way round town, we can provide them with the same sense of freedom they had before their diagnosis. Our app can help knock down the barriers brought about by anxiety caused from having a bladder control issue and/or from the use of wheelchairs. We’re giving them a chance to let go of the fear.
Be You Again.
BladdeRunner has scope to positively impact people’s lives, far beyond the MS community. This innovative app not only gives patients an enhanced sense of freedom, but care-givers too. What’s more, the app can be scaled up to help those with other diseases or mobility issues, allowing them to take back control of their life. The app could be the critical step in improving the self-esteem and social relationships of those living with MS, by extending access channels to all daily activities.
Multiple sclerosis is a neurological condition that affects around 2.5 million people worldwide.3 In MS, the body’s own immune system attacks the nerves in the brain so they can’t send messages properly, causing the disabilities associated with the condition.4 Symptoms vary from person to person and from day to day.4 It’s this unpredictability that means every day can pose a new challenge for those living with MS.
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References: 1. Prevalence and incidence of multiple sclerosis. MS Trust. Available at: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/a-z/prevalence-and-incidence-multiple-sclerosis. Last accessed: August 2016. 2. Introduction to MS. MS Trust. Available at: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/understanding-ms/what-ms/introduction-ms. Last accessed: August 2016.
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