Viscgo was founded in August 2015 by Dr Elizabeth Boaden and Mr Steven Bookbinder to solve the medical need for consistently and accurately measuring the viscosity of differing drinks and textured modified foods for those people being treated with differing levels of dysphagia (i.e. swallowing difficulties). The most common technique used currently in care homes and hospitals involves a simple visual ‘spoon test’ to assess liquid thickness following the adding of a thickening powder, a process which is subjective and clearly prone to errors, as it relies heavily on the individual carers interpretation.
For sufferers of Dysphagia, incorrect foodstuff viscosity can have serious consequences, such as aspiration pneumonia, choking, and dying particularly if the liquid they are trying to drink isn’t at the correct viscosity.
The Company’s technology, ‘VI-STIR’, is a simple, in-situ, low-cost, disposable fluid thickener device that determines the correct thickness (viscosity) of thickened liquids for consumption by dysphagic patients. The device has been specifically designed for the medical market (hospitals, care homes, homecare, schools and nurseries), and the technology offers the added advantage of being able to stir the drink using ‘shear mixing’ to deliver a smooth fluid.
It is estimated that dysphagia can occur in up to 30% of people aged over 65 years. Stroke, neurodegenerative disease and learning disability are common causes. People with dysphagia (swallowing disability) experience trouble with swallowing, drinking, chewing, eating, sucking, controlling saliva, taking medication, or protecting the airway. Dysphagia affects people of all ages but is most prevalent in those aged over 65.
There are currently around 11.5 million people aged over 65 in the UK. The potential UK market in this age group alone is therefore 3.45 million (30% of 11.5 million) users. The Company has identified the easiest initial route to the over 65 market is via care homes and hospitals in the UK. This market will increase as the number of over 65’s in the UK is predicted to rise to 12.7 million over the next 5 years.