An interview with Jen Turner, the founder of JT Rehab Ltd

10 September 2020

An interview with Jen Turner, the founder of JT Rehab Ltd

Jen Turner, founder of JT Rehab Ltd

In an interview with Kim Holland, our Relationship Manager, Jen Turner, founder of JT Rehab Ltd, tells Kim how the programme has opened so many doors for her and has increased her confidence enormously.

What is JT Rehab and how did it come about?

I am a physiotherapist and I set up JT Rehab Ltd in 2018 to develop and bring to market a new innovative rehabilitation device that I had invented. The ‘S-Press’ device was designed to help patients improve muscle strength and recover quicker after being admitted to hospital; by enabling patients to participate in safe, comfortable, therapeutic level resistance exercise from their beds or chairs.

Patients, especially the elderly, can experience up to 20% loss in muscle strength after just one week in hospital.  This can cause significant physical and functional setbacks, which can often delay their discharge home.  My aim is that the S-Press be used as early as possible in the rehabilitation process to avoid this situation.  I designed the S-Press to remove the common barriers to exercising, so that those too weak to stand, with tubes, lines or catheters, falls anxiety, pain, or preventative medical conditions like cardiac or respiratory conditions could start exercising from their bed or chair.

The S-Press is unique and there is not currently anything else like it on the market. The S-Press has two patents, UK and International design rights and trademarks in place.

Why did you choose to apply for the AWRC’s Wellbeing Accelerator?

I applied to be part of the AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator to help with the design for manufacture element of the development and to get the product to market. The main funder for the S-Press development has been Versus Arthritis, with more funding from Sheffield City Region, Innovate UK and most recently a Catapult fund.  I am currently working with Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) researchers on a feasibility study in Sheffield Care Homes and I knew the expertise within the AWRC would be invaluable. The mentor pool was hugely attractive, and I knew there were mentors who could help me get the S-Press to the next level. The Accelerator also presented an opportunity for me to gain more contacts within the manufacturing sector, through SHU’s network and expertise.

What would you say have been the main benefits of our Accelerator programme?

There are so many benefits to being on this programme. So far, I have been supported with marketing, manufacturing, design modifications and improvements, and expanding my reach globally. It has opened so many doors and my confidence has increased enormously. This new experience of running a start-up MedTech company is completely different from being a hands-on clinician and takes time to gain confidence in new skills and abilities. Working with the experts in the AWRC has given me further validation that the S-Press is a good idea, and that it will help so many people. The feedback from the other founders has also been amazing; everyone is so supportive and helpful.

S-Press rehabilitation device

What are the next steps on your Accelerator journey?

The AWRC has connected me with the AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre) and we are working on a design for manufacture process, moving towards approvals and CE Mark. We have ongoing trials and studies for our current target audience (older people), and as well as areas such as neuro rehabilitation and intensive care, I am also working on new avenues with athlete injury rehabilitation. This is exciting as it is a new area for me and has come about because of the AWRC’s connections with the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

SHU has been fantastic, and the Accelerator has been hugely helpful in guiding the development of the S-Press. Nick Hamilton particularly has been amazing early on with help with funding advice and navigating and planning the feasibility study. The wider AWRC research team I am sure will deliver excellent solutions to the current project.  I am really looking forward to the future and getting the S-Press into every hospital in the UK, and eventually expanding globally.

About the AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator

The AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator is a rolling programme running from April 2020 to March 2021 that supports startups, academics, and businesses working in wellbeing with mentoring, sector expertise and specialist facilities. 

In phase 1 of the programme, from April to July 2020 we recruited 3 cohorts of 5 startups to the programme. In the second phase, from September, we will recruit a further 9 startups to the programme across 2 cohorts: one in September and one in November.

The Wellbeing Accelerator at the AWRC is one of 20 University Enterprise Zones (UEZs), launched with a £20 million investment delivered by Research England, part of UK Research and Innovation. The Accelerator's aim is to increase the likelihood of, and reduce the timescales for, innovations to be brought to market through a period of intensive testing and development.

The AWRC, which forms the centrepiece of the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of the population through innovations that help people move. Its mission is to prevent and treat chronic disease through co-designed research into physical activity – whilst also attracting new jobs and investment to the region.

If you are a start-up working on a wellbeing innovation and want to apply to be on the AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator programme please apply here: application form.